February 17, 2006 11:58 AM PST

SNL cult hit yanked from video-sharing site

A hip-hopping "Saturday Night Live" skit that sparked a Web craze has been removed from a popular free video-sharing site at the request of NBC, which cited copyright concerns.

Called "Lazy Sunday: The Chronicles of Narnia," the two and a half minute segment follows the rapping duo of "SNL" cast members Chris Parnell and Andy Samberg as they munch on Magnolia Bakery cupcakes, laud the "crazy delicious" combination of Mr. Pibb and Red Vines, and muse about the best route to a New York matinee of the new "Narnia" flick.

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After airing on "SNL" on Dec. 17, the video scooped up a steady stream of devotees, racked up coverage from The New York Times and Newsweek, and even spawned a line of T-shirts.

"It is (the characters') obliviousness to their total lack of menace--or maybe the ostentatious way they pay for convenience-store candy with $10 bills--that makes the video so funny, but it is the Internet that has made it a hit," the New York Times said on Dec. 27.

At YouTube, a site where people can upload and share personal video clips, at least one version of the file counted more than 5 million downloads--and multiple versions had appeared on the site.

On Thursday, YouTube visitors found the videos had been deleted.

"NBC recently contacted YouTube and asked us to remove 'Saturday Night Live's' 'Lazy Sunday: Chronicles of Narnia' video," the San Mateo, Calif.-based company, which formally launched its site last December, said in a notice posted to its blog. "We know how popular that video is, but YouTube respects the rights of copyright holders."

The video continues to reside on NBC's official "SNL" site, though its embedded video player appears to work only with Windows. Curiously, the skit remains downloadable for free through Google's video service. It's also available for $1.99 at Apple Computer's iTunes store.

NBC Universal spokesperson Julie Summersgill said the take-down notice issued to YouTube concerned not only the SNL sketch but also asked that "upwards of 500" entertainment- and Olympics-related clips be pulled. She said NBC contacted a number of other sites but declined to name which ones.

"Our goal on this is that obviously we want to find a balance between supporting the fan base that's out there for these shows but also protect a significant amount of copyrighted material," Summersgill said, noting that it has been a "relatively amicable process," with most sites removing the offending content within 24 to 36 hours.

CNET News.com's Declan McCullagh contributed to this report.

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18 comments

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Video Downloading Business Models
While business models for video downloading services are in its infant stage, one must understand NBC's rationale for targeting Youtube as well as other video sharing services. Youtube is benefiting directly from the success of the SNL skit on its website (collecting ad revenue by adsense) while NBC is not getting a dime. On the other hand, NBC's relationship with Google to offer the SNL skit for free may very likely be part of a revenue sharing agreement with advertising. Youtube must negotiate with content owners and offer similar licensing deals or face tremendous backlash by the copyright owners.
Posted by (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Asses
It amazes me that SNL forgets the power of viral marketing and that by posting a 2 min. skit may potentially drive people to their site, their program (live) or to itunes to download the best of series. All from letting people share a little skit.

This get's my ******* of the week award or should be pull my head out of my corporate ass award.

Have a great weekend!
Posted by (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
NBC management must be morons?
Itunes was giving it away as a freebie a while back. That's sure as heck the only way I would have downloaded and watched it. I certainly don't tune in to Saturday Night Lame anymore. Anyway, you would think the "Office" Itunes phenomenon would have caused a few brain cells to spark together. If everyone is sharing and talking about a short SNL clip (not an entire episode), it might possibly entice people to tune in to SNL. You couldn't buy better publicity. If it wasn't for Itunes, I'd bet the Office would have been cancelled by now. If it was an entire episode, I'd understand it better. I wouldn't think anyone is making money from the SNL clip. Maybe they are just greedy and want that $1.99 (ignoring millions in advertising bucks if viewership increases). Definately morons.
Posted by rgs2k (2 comments )
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free from iTunes
Haha, I downloaded 'Lazy Sunday' for free from iTunes a few weeks ago when they ran it as a promo.
Posted by theurge14 (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Glad I downloaded when I did
So did I-- but unfortunately, people who stumbled across it just a
bit too late will have to pay $2 to download the skit.

And even when it was free, iTunes' download required a US credit
card or a prepaid card for the US version of iTunes-- probably due
to region protection. So it's still locking out people in SNL-
deprived countries.
Posted by codeman38 (2 comments )
Link Flag
Stupid embedded player
NBC's stupid (IE) Javascript ridden embedded player encouraged people to upload the video to other sites. The player sometimes even refuses to run in IE. Hey NBC .... Fix your own player them go after people who are actually helping you spread the good stuff.

- Annoyed Non-Windows/Non-IE user
Posted by bichee99 (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Not just the embedded player...
I couldn't even get the video to play on my Mac by manually
extracting its URL from the page source and entering it directly into
WMP. I can only assume they're using some weird DRM to prevent
people from ripping it with 'unauthorized' players...
Posted by codeman38 (2 comments )
Link Flag
Psst...Keep it out of the media!
The only surefire way of ruining a good thing on the Internet is to have the media publish a story about it. If some new technology remained in use by a LIMITED number of users 'in the know', then the 'Greedy Corporations' wouldn't need to shut it down because it would be less economical for them to waste time on it than to leave it as is. But as soon as the media draws attention to it, you can be sure that the GC's won't let that last for much longer.

New Technology: Good
Media Attention: Bad
Greedy Corporations: Lower than scum
Posted by TMB333 (115 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Why was no one sued?
Why didn't NBC sue YouTube or the people that uploaded the videos? Does this mean people are allowed to upload copyrighted videos on to video hosting sites without permission?
Posted by jeolmeun (49 comments )
Reply Link Flag
READ THIS
The SNL video, when released, was made available free to the public via iTunes. It is their property, but it raises some very interesting questions.

If a corporation releases digital medium "into the wild" for free, have they given up rights to control the inertia generated as a direct result of their actions.

It seems to me that this is new ground.
Posted by Thomas, David (1947 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Free from iTunes (only?)
There's a difference between releasing a video for free distribution from iTunes and freely distributing the video anywhere.
Posted by jeolmeun (49 comments )
Link Flag
Praise instead of Sue (NBC Not Bright Company)
Actually, the more i think about it, NBC is completely stupid for sueing, or even requesting removal. I read the "sharing agreement" argument and guess what, that is the most idiotic interpertation imaginable.

If the skit is a cult hit, downloaded by millions, THIS IS THE BEST ADVERTISING AND NEW VIEWER GENERATOR THAT SNL HAS HAD FOR OVER A DECADE.


For those who picked up on it early, yes, NBC is full of morons. NOT BRIGHT COMPANY
Posted by Thomas, David (1947 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Wow, thats funny.
I thought the "this is good advertising" spin was good and dead. Please explain how people watching NBC's most popular show someplace else is good advertising again. Oh yah, you don't know how to say somthing that isn't just promoting shoving everything in existance on to the internet.
Posted by Nirelan (2 comments )
Link Flag
It's still on Google Video
Good thing they didn't bother to cease-and-desist the world's largest purveyor of online videos, Google:

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-4245337360492479670&#38;q=narnia" target="_newWindow">http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-4245337360492479670&#38;q=narnia</a>

Well done NBC -- burning up goodwill AND failing to solve the problem you set out to fix. That's impressive.
Posted by senorbunch (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
you are the product
NBC sells viewers to advertisers... The Viewer I.e. you and me are
the "Product"... although they might seem to be megajerks, Why
should they let anyone use content when the shareholders of their
parent company ,General Electric would have to go hungry without
their advertising revenue... big media is scared poopless by the
internet... that is why they are trying to legislate their control over
it... just a matter of time... Youtube or someone else will provide
content as long as you get forcefed toothpaste etc commercials...
Posted by ihatetv (8 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I am waiting for one of these Giants to grab Qtrax and change the worlds Music industry
Posted by captainpablo (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
 

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