Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

NBC: Here’s Why We Fired the “Today Show” YouTube Leaker

Yup, NBC did indeed fire the guy who put that 1994 “Today Show” clip up on YouTube.

Here’s the company’s official statement: “The individual in question violated the company’s standards of conduct by repeatedly copying and distributing a variety of materials without permission.”

Not that it needs much unpacking, but just to be clear: NBC is saying, without actually saying so, that its position is that it canned the leaker for behavior beyond posting that single clip.

And not to be too square and get-off-my-lawn about it, but there are lots and lots of companies–including, for instance, Google, which owns YouTube–that fire people for distributing things on the Internet that aren’t supposed to be distributed on the Internet.

As PaidContent’s Andrew Wallenstein argues, the fact that the clip is funny and interesting and had already been on TV 17 years ago–and on NBC’s own Web site today–doesn’t mean the NBC guy had the go-ahead to do it. (It also points out the complexity that YouTube has in policing authorized and unauthorized clips, but that’s a different story.)

But, as noted: The clip is funny and interesting! And reminds us of what Bryant Gumbel and Katie Couric used to look like. Let’s watch it again!