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Google wants to question under oath two Comedy Central stars, Stephen Colbert, host of The Colbert Report and comedian Jon Stewart of The Daily Show, in connection with the US$1 billion copyright infringement lawsuit brought against the company and online video company YouTube by Viacom International.

However, in the court filing, the Google, which owns YouTube, doesn't say why it wants to question the funnymen. Google couldn't be reached for comment.

According to the 12-page document filed late recently in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, Google said it needs to question more than 30 people as its fights the lawsuit, which threatens "to silence communications by hundreds of millions of people across the globe who exchange information, news and entertainment through YouTube's video hosting service".

Google also wants to depose Viacom founder and Chairman Sumner Redstone, CEO Philippe Dauman and other company executives. Viacom said it wants to depose Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page and the brains behind YouTube, Steve Chen and Chad Hurley.

According the schedule, the third-party depositions are set to begin November 7, and the depositions of Viacom and Google executives and employees will start March 7, 2008.

Both Google and Viacom have until December 7, 2008 to complete the discovery process. Barring a settlement, a trial date will be set after that date.

Viacom is suing Google and YouTube, claiming that the companies infringe on Viacom's copyrights because thousands of unauthorised video clips are available for viewing on YouTube.


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