YouTube copyright conundrum

A fellow running for office in Rockingham, North Carolina recently discovered the dark side of YouTube content-producer rights. Essentially--there are none. The guy made a political advertisement, which, due to its Star Wars parody content, was a natural fit for posting on YouTube. Some time later, Viacom used the clip in a program that aired on VH1. Feeling more than a little slighted, the guy posted the clip as it appeared in the show back on YouTube, only to have it yanked due to a copyright claim by Viacom.

All of this begs the question--who is the copyright holder for the content in question? Is it Christopher Knight (the creator of the clip, pictured), YouTube, who apparently optioned the clip to Viacom for their Web Junk 2.0 show, or Viacom itself, which, two steps removed from the creator of the clip, aired it on VH1 and then asked YouTube to remove it after it was reposted?

It all stinks. Sadly, as we've seen before, YouTube "pwnz u" when you post video content on their site. It makes us feel more than a little sympathy for the creators of Chad Vader, who, if they could shift the center of their fanverse to their own web site from where it now resides at YouTube, might be raking in a fair amount of AdWords dough. Content sells content, after all.

So what do you think? Is YouTube's end-user agreement fair?

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