Who Killed Kenny on YouTube?


When after all, you know it was you and me…

Actually, according to The New York Post (via USA Today's Pop Candy), it was Comedy Central, which also yanked clips of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report along with South Park:

When people clicked on links for [Comedy Central clips], they got a stark message: "This video has been removed due to terms of use violation."

Users of YouTube who had posted Comedy Central clips in the past said they received emails late Friday from the site informing them that, if they did it again, it would "result in the deletion of your account."

YouTube - a year-old web site that offers video clips of homemade films but also is the go-to site for countless snippets taken from commerical TV - has had copyright trouble in the past. But this appears to be the largest purge to date at the site.

From the beginning, TV companies - including Comedy Central - looked the other way when their stuff showed up on YouTube. Many saw it as promotion for their shows. "Getting it off the Internet is no different than getting it off TV," Stewart told an interveiwer recently.

What changed?

YouTube's acquisition last month by Internet giant Google for $1.6 [b]illion, it seems.

With TV networks losing more audience and advertisers each day to the Internet, they are less willing to let it pass now that Google is behind the site.

More on that here. Given the way that major content companies work, the real question is not, why is this happening now? but why did it take so long? Curiously, as South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker told a Reason audience in Amsterdam in August, they have no problem with distribution outlets such as YouTube. (Their exact comments on the matter will be part of an excellent interview running in the December issue of Reason, on newsstands in a week or so; see what you miss when you don't subscribe already?). They (correctly) understand that outlets such as YouTube help to grow (or maintain) the audience for stuff, the same as the old outlaw version of Napster did. In the short run, it might seem like a good idea to make it harder for fans to access stuff they like, but it's really no winner for anyone in the long haul.