Viacom Inc. on Tuesday slapped video-sharing website YouTube and its owner Google Inc. with a $1 billion US lawsuit alleging massive copyright infringement.
Viacom, which owns several television U.S. networks including MTV, VH1, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central and Spike TV, said in its complaint that almost 160,000 unauthorized clips of its programming are available on YouTube. Those clips have been viewed more than 1.5 billion times, Viacom charged.
"YouTube is a significant, for-profit organization that has built a lucrative business out of exploiting the devotion of fans to others' creative works in order to enrich itself and its corporate parent Google," Viacom said in a release.
"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," the New York-based company said.
In its suit filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, Viacom called for an injunction prohibiting Google and YouTube from further use of its clips.
In February, Viacom asked that YouTube remove more than 100,000 clips of its programming afternegotiations fell apart.
Viacom shares were off nine cents at $39.48 US, while Google fell $11.72 to close at $443.03 US.