Viacom claims that there are more than 160,000 unauthorized video clips from its cable networks, which include MTV, Comedy Central, VH1 and Nickelodeon.
Other content owners have cut deals with YouTube (CBS, NBC Universal, and Universal Music Group among them). Viacom had actually been negotiating with YouTube for several months, but those talks broke down last month, and Viacom demanded that YouTube remove more than 100,000 clips containing its material.
Viacom allowed that other distributors have been careful to protect copyrights. The problem with YouTube, it said, is its fundamental strategy.
"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," according to Viacom.