Advanced Television

Viacom: YouTube used copyright threat to bully content owners

April 19, 2010

Viacom has said that court documents show Google ignored warnings about YouTube’s copyright violations and now uses the threat of infringement to force content owners into licensing deals. The documents were revealed federal court as part of Viacom’s $1bn copyright-infringement lawsuit against YouTube, which Google acquired in 2006.

In one of the documents from 2006, Google executives say the company could “threaten a change in copyright policy” and “use threat to get standard deal signup.”

Stanley Pierre-Louis, Viacom’s associate general counsel for intellectual property and content protection, said in a statement that the documents show “Google made a deliberate, calculated business decision not only to profit from copyright infringement, but also to use the threat of copyright infringement to try to coerce rights owners like Viacom into licensing their content on Google’s terms.”

Entertainment companies, including Sony and CBS have made deals with YouTube to have their videos displayed in exchange for a share of advertising revenue.

Andrew Pederson, for Google, said Viacom was attempting to try its case through the media. “These documents aren’t new, are taken out of context and have nothing to do with this lawsuit,” he said.

Viacom, owner of MTV Networks and the Paramount movie studio, sued YouTube in 2007, alleging that programmes such as “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart” and “South Park” were posted without authorisation.

Google's UK earnings reached another record high, of $842 million, between January and March.

That's a nine percent rise from the previous three months and 15 percent from the same period a year ago.

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