NEW YORK, March 13 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Viacom Inc. (NYSE: VIA and
VIA.B) today announced that it has sued YouTube and Google in U.S. District
Court for the Southern District of New York for massive intentional
copyright infringement of Viacom's entertainment properties. The suit seeks
more than $1 billion in damages, as well as an injunction prohibiting
Google and YouTube from further copyright infringement. The complaint
contends 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 connection with the filing, Viacom released the following statement:
"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. 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.
This behavior stands 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.
There is no question that YouTube and Google are continuing to take the
fruit of our efforts without permission and destroying enormous value in
the process. This is value that rightfully belongs to the writers,
directors and talent who create it and companies like Viacom that have
invested to make possible this innovation and creativity.
After a great deal of unproductive negotiation, and remedial efforts by
ourselves and other copyright holders, YouTube continues in its unlawful
business model. Therefore, we must turn to the courts to prevent Google
and YouTube from continuing to steal value from artists and to obtain
compensation for the significant damage they have caused."
Viacom is a leading global entertainment content company, with
prominent and respected brands. Engaging its audiences through television,
motion pictures and digital platforms, Viacom seeks to reach its audiences
however they consume content. Viacom's leading brands include the
multiplatform properties of MTV Networks, including MTV: Music Television,
VH1, CMT: Country Music Television, Logo, Nickelodeon, Nick at Nite, COMEDY
CENTRAL, Spike TV, TV Land, and more than 130 networks around the world, as
well as digital assets such as MTV.com, comedycentral.com, VSPOT,
TurboNick, Neopets, Xfire and iFilm; BET Networks; Paramount Pictures;
DreamWorks; and Famous Music. More information about Viacom and its
businesses is available at www.viacom.com.
SOURCE Viacom Inc.