The “Saturday Night Live” rap video sendoff starring “Star Wars” heroine Natalie Portman recently found its way onto video search engine YouTube before being taken down several hours later.
The video, no longer available, was broadcast March 4 on NBC.
It was taken down about 10 a.m. PDT March 6. In between, nearly 250,000 people saw some of it.
Portmans brief appearance on YouTube highlights once again the controversial nature of YouTube and other Internet communities where users can freely upload content for anyone to use or look at.
As the Portman video shows, YouTube and others of its ilk occasionally get material that may violate copyrights.
A YouTube spokesperson said the firm has never refused a request from any copyright holders to remove a video from its archives. It gets such requests on a weekly basis.
The spokesperson adds that theres nothing wrong with what YouTube is doing, and that its actions are protected under modern-day copyright law.
More importantly to YouTube, a recent distribution deal with MTV shows its constantly at-work with the copyright holders.
“We dont control the content on this site, and we are not required to do so under” existing digital copyright law, the spokesperson said.
“Its even hard to know if it isnt NBC uploading the video. Thats the reality of what were seeing.”
How, and if, YouTube can adjust in the growing spotlight on its practices will go a long way to determine how popular it is with consumers, and enterprises using it to upload promotional material or training videos.
For now, YouTube doesnt proactively police available content. Rather, it acts upon contacts by copyright holders who spot problems on YouTube, or tips from the media.
On some occasions, like on March 6, YouTube will also contact the supposed rights holder to let them know of the situation.
The Portman video is very much in the same style as the SNL instant classic, “Lazy Sunday: The Chronicles of Narnia,” which was also uploaded to YouTube after it aired on NBC in mid-February.
The search engine removed that video from its database, after it was downloaded 5 million times, from its database after asked by NBC to do so.