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Knight v. Viacom

In 2007 a situation arose between Viacom and myself, regarding ownership of digital property that was itself derived from independent content producers.  At issue was my Star Wars-themed school board campaign commercial and its use by Viacom's cable channel VH1.

The network featured my commercial on its show Web Junk 20, without seeking my permission.  I was fine with that though.  In fact, I found what VH1 did with my commercial to be downright hilarious!  So much so that I put the clip of their using my commercial on YouTube so that I could post it to this blog.

About a month and a half later YouTube notified me that the clip had been removed by order of Viacom, claiming copyright infringement.  That I had violated their copyright of them violating my copyright first.

I know: confusing, huh?

I took to this blog about it.  The issue gained a lot of attention.  It was a really crazy few weeks with my phone ringing off the hook from media outlets around the world wanting to interview me about it.

In the end Viacom relented, and the video was restored.  That was the only outcome, and it was plenty satisfactory.  Some have taken me to task over the years for not pushing the issue further, but that was never a thought in my mind.  I just wanted my video to be brought back online, and for Viacom and I to proverbially shake hands and go on our way.

However, that hasn't kept this whole matter from coming to be considered a groundbreaking legal matter in the still-evolving arena of digital copyright.  Knight v. Viacom has become a case cited in many legal proceedings.  It has been called a landmark affair in matters of major media and independent producers of content.  It remains a catalyst for developing law and I remain absolutely astonished by it all.

After the dust had settled I made some posts, with all of the links and stuff compiled together for sake of anyone who wanted to study the case and how it was covered in the media but also how I undertook the process of legally challenging Viacom's claim.  You can find the links below, if you are interested in this sort of thing...

The blog post that started it all.

YouTube/Viacom Aftermath - Part 1: The Media Exposure

YouTube/Viacom Aftermath - Part 2: The DMCA Counter-Notification Claim