You may remember that Viacom sued YouTube for a billion dollars over “Inducement of Copyright Infringement.” What YouTube does, specifically, is make it possible to download clips of, for example, the Daily Show, without watching Comedy Central’s ads. That’s certainly not the purpose of YouTube, but making it possible to download is a side affect of posting anything on the internet.
What many people don’t know is those Daily Show clips were also available on Comedy Central’s website, and could be downloaded through almost the exact same process through which they’re downloaded from YouTube. But Comedy Central’s website being incredibly difficult to access made such downloading more difficult. For one thing, it was almost impossible to locate any but the most recent clips on Comedy Central’s site.
Enter TheDailyShow.com, Viacom’s apparent attempt to compete with YouTube by offering a more accessible interface. Now every Daily Show clip has it’s own page at a semi-permanent address, and these pages are relatively easy to locate. So you can find and watch your favorite old Daily Show clip, just like you once could on YouTube, only without the same “Inducement of Copyright Infringement.” Why didn’t YouTube just do that?
It turns out they did. The increased accessibility of TheDailyShow.com also makes it incredibly easy to download Daily Show clips just as they were downloaded from YouTube. If you follow that link, you’ll see just how easy it is. Paste in a link, start downloading. The lesson here: on the internet, “Inducement of Copyright Infringement” is pretty much synonymous with “accessible.” You can’t view something on the internet without first downloading it, so the only way to make it difficult-to-download is to make it difficult-to-view. I suspect someone at Viacom imagined they could built an easy-to-view but difficult-to-download video website to demonstrate what YouTube could be, and why they’re suing. That someone was completely wrong.