Redlasso, a TV clip service favoured by bloggers everywhere, is being threatened with legal action by three of the major media conglomerates: Fox (NWS), CBS (CBS) and NBC (GE). The three companies have sent the Web firm a cease-and-desist letter for recording television and distributing it without their permission, and are giving them until May 29 to stop or get hauled into court.
What’s Redlasso? It’s hard to imagine media and political blogs like Huffington Post, Perez Hilton or Hot Air without it. The company records live TV and allows users to search for clips, grab them and embed them on their own sites. It’s pretty sweet! It’s also a version of what Sling Media is trying to do — except Sling is going through the laborious process of getting the networks, producers and the countless other rights holders to give it permission.
Apparently Red Lasso hasn’t done so. In the meantime, want a clip of what Keith Olbermann said last night? Bill O’Reilly? They’re easily found on Redlasso, just one reason NBC and Fox are threatening to sue. Here, for instance, is a clip from Fox & Friends from this morning:
An NBC source says they’ve got no problem with people grabbing NBC content, they just want them to do it through Hulu or MSNBC.com. Redlasso said it is reviewing the letter (posted below) and will respond shortly.
Postscript: TechCrunch had a nice long chat today with the Redlasso folks, who apparently neglected to mention the cease and desist letter. TC says that asked about it now, the Redlasso people say they “didn’t expect the letter to leak.”
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