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International: Viacom sues Google’s YouTube for $ 1 bn for copyright infringement

15-March-2007
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International: Viacom sues Google’s YouTube for $ 1 bn for copyright infringement

During Google’s recent acquisition of YouTube, some copyright experts had forecast against the search major. The first of a likely high number of suits has been filed by Viacom, the entertainment content company, for $ 1 billion in damages. The suit, filed after a good deal of unproductive negotiations, also seeks an injunction prohibiting Google and YouTube from further copyright infringement.

Viacom Inc. has announced that it has sued the parties in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York for massive intentional copyright infringement of Viacom’s entertainment properties. The complaint asserts that almost 160,000 unauthorized clips of Viacom’s programming have been available on YouTube and that these clips had been viewed more than 1.5 billion times.

In an official communiqué, Viacom stated: “YouTube is a significant, for-profit organization 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.”

Criticizing the business model, the communiqué further explained, “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.”

With this suit, Viacom wants to ensure that the writers, directors and talent who create the content and companies like Viacom that have invested to make them possible are benefited. “This behaviour stands is in stark contrast to the actions of other significant distributors who have recognized the fair value of entertainment content and have concluded agreements to make content legally available to their customers around the world,” the communiqué added.

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