HEY NBC, VIRAL VIDEO JUST WANTS TO BE FREE

What Everyone Is Talking About Today

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- “Lazy Sunday,” a faux rap extolling the joys of going to a Sunday matinee of “The Chronicles of Narnia,” cupcakes, Google maps and all things crazy delicious, has been hailed as a revival of sorts for NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” and greatly raised the profile of newish cast member Andy Samberg and vet Chris Parnell. But it wasn’t because millions tuned in to the Dec. 17 show. The popularity of the video grew and grew and grew as people posted it on video sharing sites and e-mailed it to friends. So how does NBC thank fans? It asked YouTube.com, which racked up 500,000 views of the video in just the first few days, to pull it off its pages.
Two! No, Six! No, Twelve! Baker's Dozen!
I told'ja that I'm crazy for these cupcakes, cousin!

NBC, you see, wants to protect its copyrighted material, so it had its lawyers send a strongly worded letter to YouTube.com to pull all NBC clips off its site, now numbering close to 500. It wants Web surfers to either buy the video from iTunes for $1.99, or view it free at their own site, NBC.com.

YouTube allows Web surfers to post video clips, either their own or things they particularly liked from TV shows, talk shows or music videos. The other advantage YouTube offers is it loads and plays videos pretty quickly, so there’s no need to make sure your media player syncs up with whatever option individual sites have chosen. As of today, several blogs, including influential granddaddy BoingBoing, had posted comments from users complaining that NBC’s videos don’t play on Macintosh platforms or accommodate Linux users.

Picking on YouTube?
Others questioned why NBC was picking on YouTube, but allowing Google Video to continue to post “Lazy Sunday.” A quick Google search this morning found that the “Lazy Sunday” clip could be found at numerous other sites, including GorillaMask.com, MilkandCookies.com and CollegeHumor.com.

As Xeni Jardin at Boing Boing notes, the main problem with NBC’s approach: “NBC issuing a C&D to YouTube makes about as much sense as NBC sending attorneys to the homes of every blogger or Livejournaler user who posted a link to a torrent somewhere -- not to mention the fan-made AIM icons and Web banners. Viral means the stuff has a life of its own, guys, and that's what made it a hit.”

The very act of passing it along to friends or posting it to a blog is an endorsement from someone that readers of that blog or e-mail trust far more than an NBC promotion. And NBC was slow to understand there was an online demand for the clip, posting it to its site only after it had rocketed around the Web in some of the best word-of-mouth advertising the show has gotten in a long time.

But NBC doesn’t see it that way. Julie Summersgill, a spokeswoman for NBC Universal, told The New York Times that the company meant no ill will toward fan sites but wanted to protect its copyrights. “We’re taking a long and careful look at how to protect our content,” she said.

The Boing Boing post has seemingly sparked a movement to start a letter-writing campaign to NBC, but as one reader there noted, NBC doesn’t seem all that anxious to hear from its audience. “I managed to find one feedback/comments link at NBC.com, though it was buried and I almost missed it,” a user identified as Toca Loca Nation wrote in the comments section of the Boing Boing post.

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