LAWFUEL – The Legal Newswire – Comedians Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewa…

LAWFUEL – The Legal Newswire – Comedians Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart owe much of their popularity to video-sharing site YouTube. YouTube is hoping they will pay their debt.

Colbert, host of the “Colbert Report,” and Stewart, anchor of the news satire “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart,” will be questioned by YouTube attorneys as part of a Viacom copyright lawsuit against the site.

Colbert and Stewart, whose shows air on Viacom’s Comedy Central channel, are among 32 potential witnesses listed by San Bruno-based YouTube, a unit of Google, in federal court in New York.

“YouTube is perhaps one of the best marketing conduits for folks like Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert,” Mitch Weinstein, an intellectual-property attorney at Levenfeld Pearlstein in Chicago, said Tuesday in a phone interview. “These guys are going to stand up there and say YouTube is great. And they’re going to say it while they’re on the Viacom payroll, and that’s what YouTube wants.”

If the men become witnesses at a trial, YouTube may try to use them to deflect claims of copyright-infringement or limit potential damages, Weinstein said.

Carrie Byalick, a spokeswoman for Colbert, and Matt Labov, a spokesman for Stewart, did not immediately reply to messages seeking comment.

The request came as part of lawsuits brought against YouTube by Viacom, which owns MTV, Paramount Pictures, Nickelodeon and Comedy Central; the Football Association Premier League, England’s top soccer league; and indie music publisher Bourne.

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