The two companies entered the names of people they each wish to depose in court, according to documents filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York last week. Google, which acquired YouTube last October, wants to depose at least 30 people in addition to Colbert and Stewart. Among them are Viacom Chairman Sumner Redstone and CEO Philippe Dauman.
Viacom wants to question YouTube founders Steve Chen and Chad Hurley in addition to Google CEO Eric Schmidt and founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin.
Of course, Viacom will contend that neither Colbert or Stewart are relevant to the case in hand and will likely ask the judge to deny the deposition request. So why did Google add the names of two of Viacom’s most prominent TV stars? As I said, this is going to be a huge circus and Google’s request will give Viacom a headache.
But hold on a second. Maybe Google does have a legitimate reason for asking Colbert to pay a visit to the court room.
…a year ago Colbert urged fans to make him a viral-video star. The comedian stood before a green screen on his show and played with a light saber. He encouraged fans to fill in the background in their own videos and submit them to his show.
“This could go to determining non-infringing uses,” Litvack said. “If Viacom used the clips for marketing or promotional purposes Google could argue that Colbert needs to be deposed.”
One question Google could ask is whether anyone at Viacom downloaded clips of Colbert or Stewart’s shows to YouTube.
Ouch! That could be one of those moments where Viacom internal fumes, “wait, Colbert did what?”