Viacom Sues YouTube Over Unauthorized Content Distribution Including MTV Clips
The split second after talks between Viacom and YouTube broke down, Viacom demanded that Google Inc.’s online video service remove more than 100,000 video clips. Sumner Redstone’s media concern said its pirated programs on YouTube have generated about 1.2 billion video streams, based on a study by an outside consultant.
A YouTube spokeswoman said it would comply with the request and added, “It’s unfortunate that Viacom will no longer be able to benefit from YouTube’s passionate audience, which has helped to promote many of Viacom’s shows.” The company has historically removed clips at the request of copyright owners within hours. However, “filtering tools promised repeatedly by YouTube and Google have not been put in place, and they continue to host and stream vast amounts of unauthorized video,” Viacom said in a statement. The company is taking a hard stance against the Internet’s most popular video service, which is renowned for its quirky, viewer-contributed video clips as much as for being a repository for unauthorized television shows.
Viacom’s move also runs counter to the strategies employed by other media companies, such as the Warner Music Group, Vivendi-owned Universal Music Group, and General Electric controlled NBC Universal, which have all landed deals with YouTube to test the service.
Universal Music threatened to sue YouTube last year, but reached a partnership with them. Its deal included taking a small stake in the company, according to several published reports. Universal then cashed in big, when YouTube was purchased by Google.
Even as some media companies have decided to experiment with YouTube, other companies including News Corp., NBC and Viacom have held discussions to create its own online video business, sources have said.