Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Viacom v. Knight at the Citizen Media Law Project

A few days ago was the one year anniversary of that very strange situation between multi-billion dollar multimedia conglomerate Viacom (owner of CBS, Paramount, Comedy Central and many other brands) and Yours Truly. If you're fairly new to this joint here's my first post about what happened and here's the list of all the news articles that I could find about it. Long story short: that wacky first TV commercial that I made for my 2006 school board campaign was broadcast on VH1's Web Junk 2.0, which even though neither VH1 or its parent company Viacom asked for permission I was still fine with it, 'cuz I thought it was pretty hilarious.

Anyway, I posted the short clip of my commercial on Web Junk 2.0 on YouTube, 'cuz I was so proud of it and that Rockingham County, North Carolina got such a shout-out. A month and a half later YouTube yanked the clip at the demand of Viacom 'cuz... get this... Viacom claimed that I was violating their copyright! Well, I filed a protest and the whole thing got some notice, and two weeks later Viacom acquiesced and the clip was restored. Here's the clip that caused so much trouble, including very many less-than-polite comments aimed at Viacom made by other YouTube users, which for reasons that shall be left to myself, I am not choosing to delete.

A few months ago Jim Ernstmeyer wrote me. He's at Harvard Law School and is involved with the Citizen Media Law Project. It aims to be a very extensive database of law pertaining to ordinary folks who - willingly or no - find themselves on the front lines of copyright litigation. The centerpiece of the project is the Legal Threats Database. Ernstmeyer asked for some information about what happened between me and Viacom, which I was more than happy to oblige him with.

And now, Viacom v. Knight is an entry at the Citizen Media Law Project! Which kinda officially makes it legal history. The entire site is well worth checking out for anyone with an academic interest in digital copyright or (like me, unfortunately) comes under the gun of bigtime corporate legal action.


Ricardo Montobon said...

Welcome to the club, Chris.

Chris Knight said...

Darn... two guys who know each other and ran in the same election, who wind up with SEPARATE cases of free speech violation.

What are the odds?!? :-)

Anonymous said...

wow ... Rockingham county must be a happening, cutting-edge place. how else could so much history come from one school board election?

Chris Knight said...

"how else could so much history come from one school board election?"

Lots of strange characters that wound up coming together in one place.