NBC doesn't believe in viral

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"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 as people posted it on video-sharing sites and e-mailed it. 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.

NBC 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 its own site, NBC.com.

But several bloggers questioned why NBC was picking on YouTube, but allowing Google Video to continue to post "Lazy Sunday." A quick Google search found that the clip could be found at numerous other sites, including GorillaMask.com and CollegeHumor.com. As Xeni Jardin at Boing Boing notes, the main problem with NBC's approach: "Viral means the stuff has a life of its own, guys, and that's what made it a hit."

But NBC doesn't see it that way. Julie Summersgill, a spokeswoman for NBC Universal, was quoted as saying "we're taking a long and careful look at how to protect our content."

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