Viacom hits Google with $1bn lawsuit

Google / YouTube logos

US media giant Viacom has stepped up its war on Google over clips that allegedly infringe its copyright appearing on YouTube. Last month Viacom ran out of patience with YouTube and ordered 100,000 clips from its MTV, Nickelodeon and Comedy Central networks to be removed. Now, in the video-sharing site's biggest legal challenge to date, and one that could cause its suspension, Viacom has filed a lawsuit seeking more than $1bn in damages, as well as an injunction prohibiting Google and YouTube from what Viacom said was "further copyright infringement".

Viacom's complaint says 160,000 unauthorised clips of Viacom's programming have been available on YouTube and that these clips had been viewed more than 1.5bn times. "YouTube is a significant, for-profit organisation that has built a lucrative business out of exploiting the devotion of fans to others' creative works in order to enrich itself and its corporate parent Google," said Viacom.

"Their business model, which is based on building traffic and selling advertising off of unlicensed content, is clearly illegal and is in obvious conflict with copyright laws. In fact, YouTube's strategy has been to avoid taking proactive steps to curtail the infringement on its site, thus generating significant traffic and revenues for itself while shifting the entire burden?and high cost?of monitoring YouTube onto the victims of its infringement."

Google said it was "confident that YouTube has respected the legal rights of copyright holders and believe the courts will agree".

Lovelace Consulting  |  14.03.2007

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