Google takes swipe at Viacom

Referring to Viacom's $1 billion suit filed against YouTube, Google CEO Eric Schmidt says: "Viacom is a company built from lawsuits."
Written by Reuters , Contributor
Google on Friday mocked media conglomerate Viacom, which is suing the search giant for $1 billion for "massive copyright infringement" by its video-sharing site YouTube.

Google CEO Eric Schmidt, speaking with reporters at a hotel bar at the 25th annual Allen & Co. moguls meeting, said litigation was the foundation of the company that owns the MTV Networks, Paramount movies studio and video game developer Harmonix.

"Viacom is a company built from lawsuits, look at their history," Schmidt said early Friday.

"Look who they hired as CEO: Philippe Dauman, who was the general counsel for Viacom for 20 years," he added.

Viacom has demanded that YouTube takes down thousands of segments from its popular programs including The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, The Colbert Report and South Park.

The two sides have failed to reach a settlement ahead of the case, which begins in earnest this month.

Schmidt alluded to Viacom's high profile 1989 $2.4 billion antitrust suit against Time Warner. That suit claimed that Time Warner's HBO cable service attempted to put Viacom's rival Showtime out of business by intimidating cable operators and Hollywood studios to give preferential treatment to HBO.

The suit was ultimately settled out of court by 1992. As part of the settlement, Time Warner paid $75 million and agreed to purchase a cable system owned by Viacom for an above-market price, as well as agree to distribute Showtime more broadly on Time Warner cable television system.

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