NBC nastygrams YouTube over "Lazy Sunday"

Crazy, yes; delicious, no.

A source at YouTube informs BoingBoing that NBC recently sent the user-submitted video hosting site a nastygram over the Saturday Night Live "Lazy Sunday: Chronicles of Narnia" video.

That's right -- NBC's lawyers are beating YouTube with a DMCA stick because the viral content distributor helped facilitate NBC's biggest viral hit, ever.

YouTube's blog states, "We know how popular that video is but YouTube respects the rights of copyright holders. You can still watch SNL's Lazy Sunday video for free on NBC's website."

But only Windows users can access the video on NBC.com -- the site in general is kinda buggy for non-Windows users. And the iTunes download costs $2 (see reader comments). Also, it took NBC a while to get the video there in the first place, and when the internet loves your work, it doesn't wait. That's why NBC should be sending flowers and chocolates to YouTube, not love notes from lawyers.

This isn't like another television network broadcasting the skit without permission. YouTube is a service through which individual fans can share stuff they're nuts about with others. 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.

NBC, you can't have your cupcake and eat it, too.

Link to YouTube blog statement.

Previous "Lazy Sunday"-related posts on Boing Boing: Link

Reader comment: Cody "codeman38" Boisclair sez,

Actually, the thing that bugs me even more about this whole situation is that NBC's actually *cutting off* access to the video for a good 5 to 10 percent of viewers by referring them to NBC.com to view the Lazy Sunday skit rather than letting it stay on YouTube.

Why do I say this? I've been wanting to view NBC's Saturday Night Live skits on their site for a while, but it seems that they just don't want the patronage of Mac or Linux users. NBC seems to be under the delusion that Windows is the only operating system in existence (perhaps not surprising, considering their Microsoft partnership), so their video player site requires a browser with ActiveX support.

At least they've redesigned their site so that the actual URL of the Windows Media stream can be found in the source code, with a bit of concatenation, but even that doesn't help. Even then, trying to access the video stream specified in the ASX file to which the page refers gives me... zilch. They must be expecting some weird header from Windows WMP that my PowerBook just isn't sending.

And the skit's no longer a free download on iTunes, so that option's also out of the question unless you're willing to pony up the $2-- and even when it was free, it required either a US credit card or gift card thanks to the iTunes store's region-locking.

Maybe if this actually gets posted on BoingBoing, NBC will realize their mistake and actually make their video streams accessible on more than one OS, if they're going to force people to use them... that, or they'll tell me to load up Virtual PC, I'm not sure which. Probably the latter. ::sigh::

Reader comment: Bill Kinney says,

While NBC is now charging 1.99 for the video at iTunes, it was free a few months ago. Interesting...

Reader comment: Anonymous Coward says,

Wheres the nastygram for GOOGLE>?!>> HUH HUH ?!??!!
Link to the SNL vid on Google Video.

Reader comment: Chris Thompson says,

Xeni, I sent a letter to NBC and suggest others do the same. You can see what I wrote here.

Reader comment: Toca Loca Nation says,

I managed to find one feedback/comments link at NBC.com, though it was buried and i almost missed it: Link.