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YouTube to Viacom: We Will Pull Your Clips

Viacom today said it demanded that YouTube pull more than 100,000 clips of its programming off the popular video sharing site. Viacom said that after months of discussions, YouTube is unwilling to “come to a fair market agreement” for the content.

YouTube acknowledged it had received the take-down request from Viacom and said it would comply with the request.

The clips, which come from all of Viacom's family of cable channels, represent some 1.2 billion video streams on YouTube, Viacom said. The company is alleging that YouTube, and its parent company Google, have failed to follow through on promises to provide filtering tools that would notify Viacom of its clips running.

“YouTube and Google retain all of the revenue from this practice without extending fair compensation to the people who have expended all of the effort and cost to create it,” Viacom said in its statement.

Viacom’s dissatisfaction grew after YouTube was bought by Google for $1.65 billion in October, 2006. Google has started to use its vast advertising portfolio of tools to sell promotional spots on YouTube, according to executives familiar with the situation. That poses particular problems for Viacom, which runs several kid-targeted channels and is uncomfortable with unauthorized - and potentially inappropriate - ads running against their content, says a company spokesperson.

"Our hope is that YouTube and Google will support a fair and authorized distribution model that allows consumers to continue to enjoy our very popular content now and in the future," Viacom said.

Viacom last year asked YouTube to remove clips from its Comedy Central network and others, but this is a far more sweeping demand, encompassing all of its channels, including Nickelodeon, MTV and VH1.

YouTube said it prohibits users from uploading copyright infringing material and cooperates with rights holders to identify and remove such content if it ends up on the site.

"It's unfortunate that Viacom will no longer be able to benefit from YouTube's passionate audience which has helped to promote many of Viacom's shows," said YouTube in a statement.