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Inside Move: YouTube lacks laffs

Netco to remove popular Viacom vids

“The Colbert Report” and “The Daily Show” aren’t so easy to find on YouTube anymore.

Online video viewers have been buzzing for the past several days about numerous clips from the Comedy Central shows that have been removed by the video site, recently acquired by Google, due to a request from the network.

A rep for Comedy Central parent company Viacom confirmed that the conglom sent YouTube a letter late last week asking that it remove content from all its cable networks, including MTV, BET and others. Because “Daily Show” and “Colbert” clips are particularly popular on YouTube, Netizens seem to have noticed their removal the most.

A quick perusal of YouTube showed that numerous Viacom clips remain, but most are relatively short in length. Conglom apparently asked the Netco to focus on longer clips more likely to cut viewership and less likely to legally qualify as “fair use.”

It’s not clear why Viacom decided to request the takedown now. Most of its networks already offer a smaller number of clips, surrounded by ads, on their own Web sites and some are contributing content to a video syndication service it is testing with Google.

Like most TV groups, Viacom is known to be in talks with YouTube about forging a content and revenue sharing deal similar to the one the Netco recently made with CBS (Daily Variety, Oct. 10).

But in the meantime, Web surfers used to getting their “Daily Show” and “Colbert” fix online are griping. The No. 13 most commented-on clip on YouTube Monday was titled “Why Did Comedy Central Assert Copyrights Now?”

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