EFF sues Viacom over YouTube takedown of Colbert parody

The Electronic Frontier Foundation today announced that it is suing Viacom on behalf of MoveOn.org and Brave New Films, over YouTube's takedown of Colbert parody. Here's a snip from the EFF's statement:

The video, called "Stop the Falsiness," was created by MoveOn and Brave New Films as a tongue-in-cheek commentary on Colbert's portrayal of the right-wing media and parodying MoveOn's own reputation for earnest political activism. The short film, uploaded to YouTube in August 2006, includes clips from "The Colbert Report" as well as humorous original interviews about show host Stephen Colbert. In March of this year, Viacom -- the parent company of Comedy Central -- demanded that YouTube take "Stop the Falsiness" down, claiming the video infringed its copyrights.

"Our clients' video is an act of free speech and a fair use of 'Colbert Report' clips," said EFF Staff Attorney Corynne McSherry. "Viacom knows this -- it's the same kind of fair use that 'The Colbert Report' and 'The Daily Show' rely upon every night as they parody other channels' news coverage."

Under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), a mere allegation of copyright infringement on the Internet can result in content removal, silencing a creator before any misuse is proven. This "shoot first, ask questions later" system can silence online artists and critics, creating unfair hurdles to free speech.

Link. Watch the video here. (Thanks, Jason Schultz!)

Previously on BoingBoing:

  • Viacom censors Colbert Report machinima off YouTube
  • YouTube/Google sued by Viacom for a billion bucks
  • Viacom: privacy-hating hypocrites
  • Viacom terrorizes YouTube with bullshit DMCA notices
  • Viacom announces deal with Joost
  • Why was Colbert press corps video removed from YouTube?
  • Fans protest Comedy Central's YouTube demands
  • YouTube removes Comedy Central clips over DMCA claims
  • Steven Colbert: Machinima fantasy with Karl Rove, Soledad O'Brien...