We have been very willing to get a deal done, but Viacom is pushing DirecTV customers to pay more than a 30 percent increase. Viacom sent us a letter last night that outlined our obligations to remove the channels by midnight or face legal action.DirecTV Executive Vice President of content, strategy and development Derek Chang • Discussing the struggles with Viacom that led the satellite operator to drop networks such as MTV, Comedy Central and Nickelodeon last night. The fights aren’t new but the stakes have been raised of late. Just last month, for example, Dish Network had to drop AMC Networks in a similar dispute. However (despite declining radings), Viacom’s networks are much bigger and the resulting loss of content will be tough for subscribers to stomach. “It has been inconceivable that any distributor could drop Viacom’s networks, mostly because of Nickelodeon,” analyst Todd Juenger wrote in June. “But ratings are down, often significantly, at networks representing 71 percent of Viacom affiliate fees.” Anyone here a DirecTV subscriber? If so, how annoyed are you?
While some have declared it a Viacom victory, it has to be a pyrrhic one at best given that the decision firmly (and correctly) rejected most of Viacom’s litigation agenda — an agenda that that would have upended the DMCA safe harbors on which so much Internet expression relies.A statement from the Electronic Frontier Foundation • Discussing the long-running Viacom vs. YouTube case, which was revived after the Second Circuit Court of Appeals picked it up nearly two years after the case was thrown out by a district court. The EFF sees largely good things from the decision — a protection of safe harbors and a series of choices that keep the spirit of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act safe. While YouTube did in fact lose the appeal, they emphasize the case will have no effect on the way the site currently works. The case now returns to a lower court to decide whether YouTube willfully knew about copyright infringement on its site.
» We don’t know how to feel about this: While we appreciate the fact that Google might make “The Daily Show” happen on YouTube with a buyout like this (though Viacom has pulled their shows from Hulu in the past), if it actually happens, it runs directly into a wall of regulatory scrutiny — as Google’s been feeling the heat lately. While YouTube and Hulu aren’t the only games in town (hi Netflix and Vimeo), together they’re big enough that it would deserve some regulatory scrutiny if it actually happens.