Fox Seeks Identity of YouTuber

Posted on January 25, 2007

Google Watch and Hollywood Reporter are reporting that Fox is seeking the identity of a YouTuber who uploaded episodes of Fox's hit shows 24 and The Simpsons. The 24 videos were apparently episodes of this year's premiere that were somehow uploaded to YouTube around January 8th -- before this season's premiere was even televised on January 14th. It sounds like Fox has a serious internal leak problem which is why they probably want the person's name. Blogs of War reports that the user ECOtotal was suspended from YouTube. Fox appears to be out for more than a suspension. The videos were also uploaded to LiveDigital and this Digg entry seems to reference their now non-functional locations on LiveDigital. Hollywood Reporter reported says that a subpoena was sent to both YouTube and LiveDigital.

20th Century Fox served YouTube with a subpoena Wednesday, demanding that the Google-owned viral-video site disclose the identity of a user who uploaded copies of entire recent episodes of "24" and "The Simpsons."

The subpoena, which first came to light on the blog Google Watch, was granted by a judge in U.S. District Court in San Francisco after being filed Jan. 18 by the News Corp.-owned studio. It is not yet known whether YouTube has complied with the request.

In addition, lesser-known video site LiveDigital was served with a similar subpoena. A spokesman for LiveDigital confirmed the company received the subpoena and intended to comply immediately.

A Fox spokesman confirmed the subpoenas were filed and served but declined further comment. A spokesman for YouTube declined comment.

A search for 24 on YouTube will show you many videos not related to the tv show. However, a search for fictional Federal Agent Jack Bauer will give you over 1,500 results. The majority of them are very short clips. A Simpson's YouTube search gives you about 21,000 results. With Fox allowing so many videos to remain on YouTube it seems pretty clear that Fox's primary concern are full episodes of their shows that appear on video sharing websites before they have even televised the show. That's not something any network is going to stand for.

LostRemote says the 24 had great ratings despite the videos appearance on YouTube. They also reported that Fox ordered YouTube to pull some Paula Abdul clips earlier this week. Reel Pop provides a YouTube subpoena PDF file. Other video blogs covering the news include The Daily Reel and NewTeeVee. Much more coverage can be found on Techmeme where the story is currently the top item.

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