Academy threatens YouTube

Site removes unauthorized Oscar clips

Web surfers will no longer be reliving the magic moments of the 2007 Oscarcast via YouTube. The vid-viewing site complied with a Tuesday request from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences to remove all unauthorized clips of the kudocast.

Several segments of the show, including host Ellen DeGeneres’ opening monologue and musical numbers featuring Will Ferrell and Beyonce, had been among YouTube’s most-viewed content this week.

Ferrell’s musical lament about how comedies never win Oscars, sung with Jack Black and John C. Reilly, had racked up more than 250,000 views on YouTube before it was replaced with the message “This video is no longer available due to a copyright claim by Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences.”

Ric Robertson, exec administrator for the Academy, said the organization had its content pulled “to help manage the value of our telecast and our brand.”

The official Oscar.com Website, which is run as a joint venture of the Academy and Disney’s ABC.com, features a five-minute clip of highlights from the three hour, 51 minute broadcast. That footage, along with “Thank-You Cam” videos from backstage, are preceded by ads.

But Robertson said that the ads weren’t a factor: “Even if Oscar.com didn’t have clips, we would have asked YouTube to take remove the excerpts.”

None of the show’s musical numbers or DeGeneres’ monolog were available in their entirety on Oscar.com.

Robertson said there are no plans to post additional video clips on Oscar.com; in fact the current clips will eventually vanish, to “whet people’s appetite for next year’s show.”

The Academy doesn’t regularly offer a version of the show on homevideo, and Robertson said that having the clips removed from YouTube was “really not about (protecting that) business opportunity.”

One of the only elements of Sunday’s show that remains on YouTube is one of the commercials: a cinema-centric Apple spot promoting its forthcoming iPhone.

“Media companies and content owners have not been that aggressive about two things: offering lots of clips on their sites and offering interactivity, like the ability to include a clip in a blog or email it to a friend,” said Will Richmond, president of Broadband Directions, a market intelligence firm that focuses on Internet video. “The absence of both of those elements has created this vacuum into which YouTube and others have jumped.”

Earlier this month, Viacom asked YouTube to delete more than 100,000 clips of its programming.

On Monday, Google CEO Eric Schmidt told Reuters that YouTube will soon make technology available to media companies that will enable them to prevent the unauthorized uploading of their content. YouTube was purchased by Google last year.

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