We're still not sure what to make of the strange war that's erupted between file sharing service MegaUpload and Universal Media Group after MegaUpload posted a promo video that appears to feature Kanye West, Kim Kardashian, and others, but we do know that it's starting to leave some ugly collateral damage: Universal had Monday's episode of Tech News Today pulled off of YouTube for simply reporting on the controversy. Host Tom Merritt and crew played two clips of the "Mega Song" video while discussing the issue and MegaUpload's pending lawsuit Monday afternoon, which was too much for Universal: it filed a copyright dispute and had the episode pulled from YouTube by Monday night. Never mind that news reporting and commentary are core elements of the traditional fair use analysis, of course — or that no audio from the video was even played during first clip.
Tom tells us he wasn't informed of the video's removal until a fan told him on Twitter, and that the episode was promptly restored when he complained using YouTube's automated dispute process — but Universal followed up with an official DMCA takedown request on Tuesday morning, and the show is currently down. Tom's filed YouTube's corresponding DMCA counter-dispute and the video will go back up in 10 days unless Universal decides to go full-on crazy and actually file a lawsuit, but at this point the damage has been done. As Tom says, "In 10 days a daily news show is worthless, so Universal was able to censor this episode of Tech News Today."
What makes all of this particularly egregious is that it's not even clear Universal has the necessary rights to initiate this sort of takedown — the entire dispute between MegaUpload and Universal is about who owns those rights, and MegaUpload's lawsuit against Universal is entirely about having the "Mega Song" video pulled from other video sites on false infringement grounds. That Universal decided it was acceptable to go after legitimate news organizations for reporting on the dispute is utterly perplexing — both MegaUpload and Universal look somewhat shady in all of this, but only Universal looks like a floundering bully. We'll see if Universal or YouTube wise up and restore the TNT episode, but for now you can watch the whole thing on TWiT.tv; we've embedded the offending clip and the "Mega Song" below.
P.S.- On a happier note, TNT co-host Sarah Lane coincidentally joined us for 5 Minutes On The Verge earlier this week as well.