In a widely expected move, media conglomerate Viacom on Wednesday announced that it was suing Google for $1 billion over rampant copyright infringement on Google's YouTube video site. Viacom says that Google has shown "brazen disregard" for its multiple requests to have content from such Viacom entities as "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart," "South Park," and even movies like "An Inconvenient Truth" removed from YouTube.
"The attitude of Google and YouTube has been to take people's content and ask questions later," Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman said. "That's just not appropriate for anyone to do. And it's not appropriate for one of the largest companies in the world to behave that way."
In the unlikely event that you're not familiar with YouTube, the site came to prominence a few years ago as sort of a video version of Napster: Users log onto the site and upload videos, which can run the gamut from home movies to ripped versions of commercially available Hollywood movies. Indeed, most of the content on YouTube seems to be stolen directly from TV and movie sources. After Google purchased the site for $1.65 billion last year, the company moved quickly to make arrangements with various content creators in order to avoid this sort of lawsuit. But Viacom has held out refused to give Google permission to host its content on YouTube.
According to Viacom, YouTube has displayed over 160,000 unauthorized video clips that have been viewed over 1.5 billion times by users. In addition to the monetary damages, Viacom is also seeking to bar YouTube from showing Viacom-owned clips.