Viacom has finally run out of patience with Google-owned YouTube and demanded that the video-sharing site remove more than 100,000 video clips (from properties including MTV Networks and BET) after the two companies failed to reach a distribution agreement. Viacom claim that material they own which has been illegally hosted on the site, has generated about 1.2 billion views for which they haven't been compensated.
A statement from Viacom reads:
After months of ongoing discussions with YouTube and Google, it has become clear that YouTube is unwilling to come to a fair market agreement that would make Viacom content available to YouTube users.
The company then goes on to cite the empty promise of filtering software that YouTube said it was working on, which would allow the service to automatically remove content it doesn't have the rights to.
Filtering tools promised repeatedly by YouTube and Google have not been put in place, and they continue to host and stream vast amounts of unauthorized video.
Negotiating tactic? Or something more serious? YouTube best hope it's the former, as the site's popularity exists as much for its professionally produced content as any of the User-Generated stars that it prefers to talk about.
As fellow ZDNet blogger, Larry Dignan notes:
Now this Viacom order may just be a negotiating ploy, but the fact remains that spats with Fox and Viacom in a month can't be good for YouTube. All that has to happen is one lawsuit to be launched and many more will follow. The world knows that Google's pockets are deep and the company has set aside $200 million to keep content owners at bay.
As I've contemplated before, could Google's size and reputation be harming YouTube?
Related post: Could Google harm YouTube?