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Viacom Cuts Joost Licensing Deal

Viacom cut a broad licensing deal with Joost to supply content from its MTV Networks, BET Networks and Paramount Pictures units to the Internet start-up.

The deal comes just two weeks after MTVN ordered top viral video Web site YouTube to pull thousands of clips from MTVN programs from its site.

Joost -- which plans to launch its ad-supported Internet-programming service during the first half of 2007 -- obtained the rights to programs including MTV’s Laguna Beach, Beavis & Butt-Head and Real World; Comedy Central’s Stella, Comedy Central Presents and Freak Show; VH1’s Flavor of Love, Surreal Life and I Love New York; and several shows from CMT, MTV2, Logo, Spike TV, mtvU and GameTrailers.com.

BET will supply Beef, DMX: Soul of a Man, Comic View and American Gangster. Viacom said Paramount Pictures, Paramount Vantage and Paramount Classics will supply full-length feature films to Joost.

Joost, which is currently running beta-tests of its service, is based on peer-to-peer technology, relying on computers of individual subscribers to help distribute its content via the Internet.

The company is backed by Skype founders Janus Friis and Niklas Zennstrom, who sold the Internet phone company to eBay last year for $2.6 billion. Joost, previously called The Venice Project, was renamed Joost in January.