updated 11:20 am EDT, Tue March 13, 2007
Viacom Sues YouTube
Viacom today sued YouTube for $1 billion, marking the largest-ever suit of its kind for Internet videos. The media outlet openly accused YouTube and its parent company Google of deliberately allowing illegal material to be hosted through the site, asking for both financial damages and an injunction against any other Viacom-related clips from reaching the site.
"YouTube's strategy has been to avoid taking proactive steps," read an official Viacom statement. "Their business model, which is based on building traffic and selling advertising off of unlicensed content, is clearly illegal."
The network, which owns MTV, Nickelodeon, and other major TV and film studios, specifically claimed that YouTube knowingly allowed more than 160,000 clips from its various shows to stay on the website despite reportedly obvious copyright infringement. The companies had been in "unproductive negotiation" to legally bring these clips online, Viacom said.
Google and YouTube have generally been successful in negotiating deals with traditional media sources in the past, having just secured a BBC deal in early March and music labels as early as September. Viacom has not explained its reasons for ending the earlier talks.