Posted by Amy Gahran
Where Is That Stephen Colbert Video Now?
Stephen Colbert's now famous/infamous performance at the April 29 White House Correspondents Association dinner launched an online firestorm. C-SPAN shot and broadcasted the video, which was immediately recorded and widely reposted online by enthusiastic Colbert fans, Bush detractors, media critics, and others.
C-SPAN, which holds the copyright to that video, recently asked the popular video-sharing sites YouTube (http://youtube.com) and iFilm (http://ifilm.com) to remove the Colbert performance from their offerings. Both services complied. (Although, as of this writing, iFilm is offering an ABCnews.com closeup video of President Bush watching (http://www.ifilm.com/ifilmdetail/2724944) Colbert's "audition tape" spoof -- and appearing none too pleased.)
C-SPAN recently announced (http://www.c-span.org/special/colbert.asp) that it has entered into a non-exclusive arrangement with Google Video (http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-869183917758574879) "in order to increase the Colbert event's free availability. We worked with Google because they agreed to post both dinner segments in their entirety with links to c-span.org."
Of course, the Colbert video is distributed far and wide, and is by now impossible to recall -- from the fan blog Thank You Stephen Colbert (http://thankyoustephencolbert.org/) and video-sharing site DevilDucky (http://www.devilducky.com/media/45146/) to respected media organizations like Salon.com (http://www.salon.com/ent/video_dog/politics/2006/04/30/colbert_press/inde
x.html) (where I first saw it).
I can understand C-SPAN wanting to protect its copyright. However, when news footage "goes viral," there's no containing or corralling it. So the question becomes, what can news organizations do -- if anything -- to leverage such viral runaways? Please share your thoughts on this in a comment below. I'd love to hear some ideas on this.