Last Sunday’s episode of Family Guy used an old YouTube clip of NES classic Double Dribble to simulate two characters playing the game. Shortly after the episode aired the original video was taken down by Fox on copyright grounds, because YouTube is stupid.
Basically what happened, as documented by the folks over at TorrentFreak, was a YouTube clip that’s been sitting around since 2009 got “drafted” into an episode of Family Guy. Cleveland and Peter are playing Double Dribble, and Peter is being a dick by taking advantage of a well-documented glitch that caused three point shots to sink automatically as long as the button press was timed correctly. You can see the Family Guy clip below.
Rather than created new animated footage or create their own video of the game being played, the Family Guy folks pulled used a video uploaded in 2009 by YouTube user sw1tched.
The version of the video appearing in the show substitutes the CPU in the original with 2up, but otherwise the timing and movements all line up.
And so a seven-year-old YouTube clip was suddenly part of an episode of Fox’s Family Guy. So of course this happens next.
As I mentioned earlier, YouTube is pretty stupid.
Likely the work of some sort of automated system comparing YouTube videos against television show footage, the Double Dribble clip was only blocked for a couple of days. Still it was plenty of time for people to berate Fox for seemingly taking a YouTube clip, using it in their show and then nuking the original. Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane even chimed in briefly on the matter.
The original Double Dribble video was restored to service yesterday, and a Fox spokesperson issued the following statement:
“The video in question was removed as a result of Fox’s routine efforts to protect its television show Family Guy from piracy. As soon as we became aware of the circumstances, the content was restored.”
The statement probably also applies to the Tecmo Bowl clip that was used in the show and also briefly taken down due to a Fox copyright claim earlier this week.
Perhaps in the future systems both automated and manual can take into account the relative ages of YouTube videos before acting.