coverage via boingboing
My favourite part of the whole subject was probably the comment on the BoingBoing story from an anonymous reader who I hope never has any connections to intellectual property law:
I have to point out the irony of the NBC nastygram to youtube over the Natalie Portman video. From the moment I saw it, I knew the video was cribbed directly from Eazy-E -- the reference is made explicit in Natlie's closing line "no more quesitons." The song also cops a line from Sir Mix-A-Lot's song "Posse on Broadway" ("I got a def posse, you got a bunch of dudes..."). Apparently, profiting from this uncredited appropriation is completely fine when NBC does it, but when youtube chooses to post and credit SNL's work, making it a viral hit and perhaps getting some actual viewers for a faltering show, NBC releases the hounds. Nice, NBC, real nice. If I didn't love ths video so much, I would say Eazy-E's estate should nastygram NBC, just to bring the world full circle.
Anonymous is apparently behind the curve on what parody is. Cribbing lines from the source you are parodying is not in any way related to showing someone's copyrighted work without permission.
Should NBC have thrown a bitch-fit over youtube's providing of a clip to the public? Probably not, youtube was essentially providing their show with free publicity and if NBC wishes in the future to be the main host of viral clips, perhaps they should do a better job of anticipating the public's desires and providing a better selection so that people don't have to go elsewhere first.
Plus, the video doesn't deserve all this fuss anyway, it's not particularly funny. The only thing it really has going for it in terms of humour is 'Oh look, there's sweet little Natalie Portman acting like a gangsta rappa' The lyrics aren't that well put together and the videowork isn't all that strong. If this passes for the best of parodist humour, our standards have fallen quite low indeed. (and I suppose somewhere the Scary Movie franchise is at the forefront of the blame)