Feeds

YouTube, Viacom bow to light-sabre wielding defender of online justice

Jedi Knight saves the world

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

The Register's favorite light-sabre-wielding school board candidate has stared down an army of YouTube-hating Viacom lawyers, defending the rights of internet users everywhere.

Late last month, as reported by The Reg, Viacom put the screws to Star Wars-loving North Carolinian Christopher Knight for posting his own TV ad to the world's most popular video-sharing web site. Yes, he also posted a sliver of Viacom-owned content, but most of the video was his - and he wasn't doing anything Viacom hadn't already done to him. Nonetheless, Viacom ordered YouTube to yank the clip - in which Knight waves a light sabre at federal legislation - and our hero received a digital form letter threatening to destroy his account.

But Jedi Knight filed a counter-complaint, risking a lawsuit from Sumner Redstone and company, and for once, YouTube justice was served. Viacom eventually bowed to internet common sense, and late Tuesday night, the clip was restored. It's a lesson for video and music sharers across the web: When the media giants wave copyright infringement claims at legitimate content, abusing the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, you have the power to fight back.

We see this as a classic triumph of good over evil, but our hero takes a more modest approach. "I have nothing against Viacom," Knight told The Reg. "We just wound up converging in territory no one had ventured into - and I'm glad we were able to resolve it."

This past fall, as he ran for a school board seat in Rockingham County, North Carolina, Jedi Knight filmed a TV spot in which he promised to protect local children from a metaphorical Death Star. The ad was such a hit on Rockingham TV, he soon chucked it onto YouTube - where it was spotted by Viacom.

Several months after it first appeared on the net, the clip popped up on Web Junk 2.0, a cable TV show from Viacom-owned channel VH1. As the video appeared behind him, the show's host admired Knight's sexual restraint. "I'd actually feel safe with a guy like Chris on the school board," he said. "You know he won't be banging the teachers."

Chris was so pleased, he soon made a copy of his Web Junk appearance and threw that onto YouTube. But it didn't stay there for long. Viacom contacted YouTube, insisting Jedi Knight had violated its copyright under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, and YouTube took the clip down. We can mess with your copyrighted stuff, Viacom seemed to be saying, but you can't mess with ours.

"Viacom says that I can't use their clip showing my commercial, claiming copy infringement?" Jedi Knight told us last month. "As we say in the South, that's ass-backwards."

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
Assange™: Hey world, I'M STILL HERE, ignore that Snowden guy
Press conference: ME ME ME ME ME ME ME (cont'd pg 94)
Premier League wants to PURGE ALL FOOTIE GIFs from social media
Not paying Murdoch? You're gonna get a right LEGALLING - thanks to automated software
Caught red-handed: UK cops, PCSOs, specials behaving badly… on social media
No Mr Fuzz, don't ask a crime victim to be your pal on Facebook
Ballmer quits Microsoft board to spend more time with his b-balls
From Clippy to Clippers: Hi, I see you're running an NBA team now ...
Online tat bazaar eBay coughs to YET ANOTHER outage
Web-based flea market struck dumb by size and scale of fail
Amazon takes swipe at PayPal, Square with card reader for mobes
Etailer plans to undercut rivals with low transaction fee offer
Call of Duty daddy considers launching own movie studio
Activision Blizzard might like quality control of a CoD film
US regulators OK sale of IBM's x86 server biz to Lenovo
Now all that remains is for gov't offices to ban the boxes
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.