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The Full Monty

While Monti Rock, 73, recuperates from heat exhaustion in a Las Vegas hospital his television likeness is at the center of a small controversy brewing in the East County. Last week, a San Diego drummer named Jim Daugherty found the following message in his email inbox. It had been forwarded to him by YouTube:

"We are the legal representatives of The Merv Griffin Show and as such represent all footage from the show, including but not limited to the likeness and image of Merv Griffin. By posting this footage from The Merv Griffin Show you are violating the copyright of my clients and we hereby demand that you immediately remove this from YouTube within seven days. We've chosen as a courtesy to contact you directly rather than YouTube, but if you keep this link up past seven days then we will contact YouTube and have your account terminated. If that doesn't work we will then turn this matter over to our attorneys."

The message was signed by David Peck, president of a local company called Reelin' in the Years Productions. The company licenses footage and sells DVD compilations of vintage rock and roll and roots music performances and televised entertainment. In March, Reelin' in the Years gained control of the archives of the Merv Griffin Show. The warning email was sent in reference to a video segment that Daugherty had posted on his YouTube channel. It was of Monti Rock in a 1966 guest appearance on the Griffin show.

Monti Rock once described Jim Daugherty to me in this way: "He's a saint. He is the keeper of the Monti Rock flame down there in San Diego." The '60s era celeb-hair dresser-singer-comic and veteran of a multitude of TV talk show appearances says that all of those video clips were posted by Daugherty with his knowledge and approval.

Daugherty says Rock in fact told him that it was his posting of those videos that revived his career. "He told me the YouTube thing gave him a rebirth. People thought he was dead. He's told me what the YouTube has done for him. It helped him get another record deal."

The former California Rangers drummer says he made the channel for Rock out of friendship and that he has turned down offers of money. "I haven't made a dime. Even YouTube came to me once and said these videos were generating some interest and would I like to make some money? I said no."

But there's more. Daugherty thinks RITY's action could be personal. It turns out he and David Peck have a little history.

"He used to sit in on drums when I played in Rockola. He used to give us copies of music videos he'd collected. We let him hang out with us." He was, Daugherty says, a cool kid back then. "Personally, I don't know why he is picking on me. I have contacted people who have posted other similar clips and they say they have not been contacted by Reelin' in the Years."

"Why he would think it's personal, I have no idea," says Peck. "It wasn't addressed to Jim Daugherty personally. We did this the nice way, by not contacting YouTube." He says the cease-and-desist emails were sent out blindly and as a routine matter of business. "We have a contract with the Merv Griffin estate. What gives him [Daugherty] the right to post those videos? He doesn't own them."

Will Daugherty call Peck and clear the air? No. He says he prefers to wait and see what happens. "There's five or six Johnny Carson clips up there too," Daugherty says over lunch at a Grossmont Center deli "and I've never been hassled by Carson's people." He says that his Monti Rock tribute channel will continue, presumably minus the Griffin clip.

"I'm not gonna fight it. But I'm not gonna take it down either."

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While Monti Rock, 73, recuperates from heat exhaustion in a Las Vegas hospital his television likeness is at the center of a small controversy brewing in the East County. Last week, a San Diego drummer named Jim Daugherty found the following message in his email inbox. It had been forwarded to him by YouTube:

"We are the legal representatives of The Merv Griffin Show and as such represent all footage from the show, including but not limited to the likeness and image of Merv Griffin. By posting this footage from The Merv Griffin Show you are violating the copyright of my clients and we hereby demand that you immediately remove this from YouTube within seven days. We've chosen as a courtesy to contact you directly rather than YouTube, but if you keep this link up past seven days then we will contact YouTube and have your account terminated. If that doesn't work we will then turn this matter over to our attorneys."

The message was signed by David Peck, president of a local company called Reelin' in the Years Productions. The company licenses footage and sells DVD compilations of vintage rock and roll and roots music performances and televised entertainment. In March, Reelin' in the Years gained control of the archives of the Merv Griffin Show. The warning email was sent in reference to a video segment that Daugherty had posted on his YouTube channel. It was of Monti Rock in a 1966 guest appearance on the Griffin show.

Monti Rock once described Jim Daugherty to me in this way: "He's a saint. He is the keeper of the Monti Rock flame down there in San Diego." The '60s era celeb-hair dresser-singer-comic and veteran of a multitude of TV talk show appearances says that all of those video clips were posted by Daugherty with his knowledge and approval.

Daugherty says Rock in fact told him that it was his posting of those videos that revived his career. "He told me the YouTube thing gave him a rebirth. People thought he was dead. He's told me what the YouTube has done for him. It helped him get another record deal."

The former California Rangers drummer says he made the channel for Rock out of friendship and that he has turned down offers of money. "I haven't made a dime. Even YouTube came to me once and said these videos were generating some interest and would I like to make some money? I said no."

But there's more. Daugherty thinks RITY's action could be personal. It turns out he and David Peck have a little history.

"He used to sit in on drums when I played in Rockola. He used to give us copies of music videos he'd collected. We let him hang out with us." He was, Daugherty says, a cool kid back then. "Personally, I don't know why he is picking on me. I have contacted people who have posted other similar clips and they say they have not been contacted by Reelin' in the Years."

"Why he would think it's personal, I have no idea," says Peck. "It wasn't addressed to Jim Daugherty personally. We did this the nice way, by not contacting YouTube." He says the cease-and-desist emails were sent out blindly and as a routine matter of business. "We have a contract with the Merv Griffin estate. What gives him [Daugherty] the right to post those videos? He doesn't own them."

Will Daugherty call Peck and clear the air? No. He says he prefers to wait and see what happens. "There's five or six Johnny Carson clips up there too," Daugherty says over lunch at a Grossmont Center deli "and I've never been hassled by Carson's people." He says that his Monti Rock tribute channel will continue, presumably minus the Griffin clip.

"I'm not gonna fight it. But I'm not gonna take it down either."

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A postscript: last night Jim Daugherty emailed with news that indeed all of his Monti Rock clips, including those culled from Johnny Carson appearances, had been removed from his YouTube channel.

May 2, 2012
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