Viacom files $1b copyright suit against YouTube

Viacom, the owner of MTV, VH1, Comedy Central and other cable networks filed a $1 billion copyright lawsuit against video-sharing site YouTube and its corporate owner Google, an Associated Press report said.

The Associated Press report said the lawsuit marks a sharp escalation of long-simmering tensions between Viacom and YouTube and represents the biggest confrontation to date between a major media company and the hugely popular site, which Google bought in November for $1.76 billion.

Last month Viacom demanded that YouTube remove more than 100,000 unauthorized clips from its site, and since that time the company has uncovered more than 50,000 additional unauthorized clips, the Associated Press report quoted the company as saying.

A quick search of YouTube's site turned up numerous clips from Viacom programs including segments from Comedy Central's 'The Daily Show with Jon Stewart' and Nickelodeon's 'SpongeBob SquarePants' cartoon, the report said

In the lawsuit, filed in US District Court in New York, Viacom says YouTube 'harnessed technology to willfully infringe copyrights on a huge scale' and had 'brazen disregard' of intellectual property laws, the report said.