Jay Leno uses indie YouTube video; NBC gets it taken down

Jay Leno uses indie YouTube video; NBC gets it taken down

Summary: Internet outcry rises after Jay Leno uses a YouTube video without permission and NBC removes it with a copyright claim takedown.


NBC/Universal used a YouTube video by an indie comedy duo (without permission) on The Jay Leno Show - then had the video taken down with a copyright claim.

The video's creators were originally pleased to see their video on Leno's show, but now have posted an open letter to Jay Leno and NBC asking for their video rights to be restored.

Despite growing internet outcry, both media giant and talk show host have not said or done anything to address the injustice.

The video saga began in 2007 when Brian Kamerer and Travis Irvine made a comedic video about running for mayor.

Jay Leno and NBC thought the video was funny enough to run on an episode of The Jay Leno Show in 2009.

Regrettably, the comedy duo only found out Leno and NBC used it on the show after the episode containing their video had already aired.

There were no hard feelings, at first - like many upcoming artists Kamerer and Irvine were pleased to get big-name recognition and happy their video could be enjoyed by Leno's audience and fans.

Perhaps in good faith, the pair felt that NBC's permissions procedure had been mistakenly overlooked.

But five days ago Kamerer discovered the video had been punitively removed from his YouTube account with a copyright claim: that the video is now copyright property of NBC.

Brian Kamerer and Travis Irvine aren't letting their video go down without a fight (it's currently reposted on Funny or Die).

Kamerer writes in An Open Letter to Jay Leno About Stealing My Video and Then Getting It Removed From YouTube:

Dear Jay Leno,

First off, my intention is not to fight you on this. You have more cars than I have dollars, and so I know I don’t stand a chance legally (...)

Your company NBC just up and blocked our video and claimed that we are copyright infringers!

But we are not! We made it!

And this is the video that you said you loved!

Now, if you try to watch our video (and again this is the video that had nothing to do with you until you used it in your show without asking) on YouTube it’s just a big black sign that basically says, “the makers of this video stole this video from NBC, so you can’t watch it!”

Jay, what in the hell is going on here? (...)

What the hell, indeed.

Leno and NBC may have their heads in the sand - and it wouldn't be the first time Leno/NBC acted like complete jerks and had to get spanked by the internet.

A year before snatching Kamerer's video, Leno invited actor Ryan Phillipe onto the show only to sexualize and ridicule the actor for once playing a gay character. Leno went so far that the actor nearly left the show while on-air: NBC and Leno suffered their first sting of internet outcry when a Tumblr parodying Leno's repulsive mockery surfaced.

But maybe you're saying, "it's not really Jay Leno's fault." And this may be true.

Yes, this might be a case of 'bots making mistakes, or worse, a large Hollywood company outsourcing their IP enforcement.

But none of this - from Leno to copyright carpetbombing - is a new problem.

I have to wonder how many other artists have had this happen to their work at the hands of companies like NBC and careless personality brands like Jay Leno.

Blaming robots just isn't good enough as far as I'm concerned.

Kamerer hit the nail on the head (chin?) when he wrote,

Jay, I humbly ask you to please stop calling me a thief on YouTube. It’s not true, and I don’t want the YouTube community to think I’m a jerk.

And I know you’re reading this going,

“Brian, you don’t understand! It’s not me, it’s just some NBC internet robot that scans YouTube videos and then compares the videos to the vast NBC library and just blocks the YouTube videos that match up, because the robot assumes the video has been stolen. Besides, you don’t own anything on YouTube! Don’t be mad at me, funny man Jay Leno! I liked your video! It’s the robot’s fault. The robot fucked up.”

Don’t hide behind NBC on this one, dude.

And don’t blame YouTube.

And forget about the robots.

I’m not talking to the robot now. I’m talking to you, Jay Leno.

Where does the buck stop on The Jay Leno Show, if not with Jay Leno himself?

The buck stops with you Jay.

I think Kamerer's post is a little over the top, but I also think that he has every right to lose it over this insanity. I mean, have you ever tried to tell YouTube that NBC is wrong? (I have, and no, they don't listen.)

It seems we should be living in a time where this kind of power imbalance doesn't happen anymore - powerful media blowhards getting a few minutes of laughs while talented artists get tossed around in their wake.

Yet it seems like this is exactly what's happening now more than before. Situations like this one just make it feel like entities such as NBC don't think they need to play by the same rules as everyone else on the internet.

If the price of national exposure turns into having your work used against you three years later, then being on shows like Leno's isn't really worth it for artists.

The bottom line is that this sucks for these kids and all others like them.

I hope enough noise gets made to get them their video back, and that NBC and Jay Leno learns... something about the internet.

Topic: Social Enterprise

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  • They Are Not Supposed To Be Bots

    Every DMCA takedown is supposed to be made under penalty of perjury for false claims. That means if they make a wrong claim, it should then be up to a judge to ask them to show cause why they should not be punished for lying.

    Thats the theory. In practice, big companies get away with this sort of bullsh???it all the time.
    • Sounds like watching Leno is endorsing copyright fraud.

      Therefore, I shall never watch Leno, or anything else on NBC. Oh, wait! I never do anyway. Well, at least I now have a moral reason for not watching them, instead of the fact that they suck mightily.
  • Jay Leno uses indie YouTube video; NBC gets it taken down

    The best the duo can do is keep writing to Leno, NBC, and Google and hope that an actual human looks into it and responds.
    Loverock Davidson-
    • Not really

      There's also this handy dandy thing called the media that they can use to make a ruckus as well.
      • True

        You are right about that... hey that's what they are doing!
        Loverock Davidson-
  • Any lawyers out there who want a colossal payday??

    You should take this case on. I smell a million-dollar settlement.
  • Sounds like HUGE payout due from NBC

    They stole the video off YouTube and broadcast it. That is file sharing for profit, no way they can claim it was accidental. Record Nazis and Movie Nazis charge $150K per violation - how many viewers tune in to Leno's show? That's a lot of violations, and NBC should be forced to cough up cash for every one of them.
  • The real way to collect

    1) Invoice NBC for use of your material. $15,000 sounds about right.

    2) If they don't pay, sue.
  • People need to learn..

    That every time they sign up somewhere for something, and there is a page or link that says "Terms of Service" and they just click Accept and ignore reading this huge legal agreement that contains all of the information that you are agreeing to, you are basically setting yourself up for something like this, where you will realize you have already handed yourself a losing ticket. Next time read the rules, like this one from YouTube:

    Section 6.B:

    [. . .] However, by submitting Content to YouTube, you hereby grant YouTube a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free, sublicenseable and transferable license to use, reproduce, distribute, prepare derivative works of, display, and perform the Content in connection with the Service and YouTube???s (and its successors??? and affiliates???) business, including without limitation for promoting and redistributing part or all of the Service (and derivative works thereof) in any media formats and through any media channels. [Emphasis added.]

    Maybe next time you will post your videos somewhere else if you dont want others using it.
    • That doesn't quite get to the point of the take down

      NBC used it. Then they got it taken down. I think that's the point of it all. Somewhere in there might be the novel concept that these comedians' work was somehow mysteriously owned by NBC.
  • gee

    sounds like apple it see's or hears of something and next thing it patents it as there own.
    • Off Topic! Ten Yard Penalty! This has nothing to do with Apple.

      Now, get back under you bridge.
    • And learn to spell