NBC has gotten all lawyered up against YouTube and similar sites that have posted video clips from shows the network airs. The basis for legal action is copyright infringement, which NBC began pursuing shortly after it released the Saturday Night Live digital short film Lazy Sunday (first as a free “gift” from the network on iTunes, but now costs $1.99). According to WOM expert Jackie Huba from The Church of the Customer blog , the digital short film was viewed over 5 million times on YouTube, before the network asked the popular video sharing site to remove it. Saturday Night Live’s recent airing of a Gangsta Rap featuring actress Natalie Portman immediately hit the the video sharing sites, but was forced off of YouTube by the C&D-ers at NBC. Furthermore, Huba notes that while the video is available on NBC’s site (I couldn’t find it on iTunes), it doesn’t play on Macs.

Obviously NBC believes that playing hard to get is the same as good marketing. With the variety of choices consumers now have with regard to entertainment, most of us realize that weaning ourselves from NBC content isn’t all that difficult. Jackie Huba points out that we can just film our own digital shorts. Ultimately, NBC didn’t have the vision to fully embrace the best free publicity SNL has gotten in years.