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.(Source EFF press release)
As of this writing, the video was reinstated on YouTube, but the lawsuit is still pending. The lawsuit asks for damages and an injunction against any future action against the video.
The Digital Millennium Copyright Act
Viacom patrolled YouTube for copyright violations and issued takedown notices according to the policies of the Digital Millennium Copyright act, or the DMCA. The safe harbor clause of the DMCA may provide some protection for companies with services that host content without review, so long as infringing content is promptly removed.
Overly Broad Takedown NoticesViacom's immediate response to the EFF lawsuit was a letter which claimed that "any takedown notice most likely did not come from us." Viacom further indicated that they did not have a problem with the video being displayed on YouTube. Under DMCA safe harbor rules, Google would not be required to investigate claims of infringement.
On March 13, 2007, Viacom announced that they were suing Google for what they felt was fostering an environment that encouraged copyright violations. Viacom does not feel that the DMCA safe harbor laws should apply to Google and claims to have found over 160,000 cases of copyright violation.
The EFF points to other examples of material they feel was unfairly removed from YouTube by Viacom. This begs the question - just exactly how precise was Viacom when they "sent over 160,000 takedown notices" to YouTube?