It had to happen sooner or later. Someone is suing Google via YouTube for $1 billion for massive copyright infringement.
Viacom filed a suit against them in New York court today, asking not
only for the money but an immediate stop to the copyright infringement.
The legal complaint claims over 160,000 Viacom clips are on YouTube and
have had over 1.5 billion views.
Viacom issued the following press release after filing the papers.
"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."