YouTube shuts down Gawker account

YouTube has removed videos posted to the site by Gawker Media, many of which featured clips from top TV shows that appeared between advertisements for Gawker's blogs.

More than 50 clips were removed, and the YouTube user account "belowtheradar," employed by Gawker to post the videos was deactivated sometime over the weekend, according to Lockhart Steele, Gawker Media's managing editor.

In a story by CNET two weeks ago, said that Gawker was using their material without permission. Entertainment lawyers predicted that Gawker would have a hard time justifying the use of copyright material to promote its Web sites.

Gawker Media is the parent company of some of the Web's best-known blogs, including Valleywag, Gawker and Gizmodo. Since October, the company has posted clips from such shows as The Colbert Report and Good Morning America at YouTube. The videos were also embedded on Gawker's blogs.

Steele said Gawker managers didn't do anything wrong by posting the clips. The company, said Steele, plans to continue the practice in the future.

"None of this has made us think we need to change our policies," Steele said.

He added that none of the copyright holders have asked Gawker to remove the clips or have even complained. Steele doesn't agree with the assertion that the three-second promotions for some of Gawker's blogs that appeared before and sometimes after a clip, known as "bumpers," can be considered an advertisement.

YouTube was not immediately available to comment Monday on the reason for the removal of Gawker's clips or the deactivation of the Belowtheradar account.