YouTube is legal, Google tells Viacom

Google Inc. on Monday filed a response to Viacom Inc.'s copyright infringement lawsuit over Google's massively popular video-sharing sharing site YouTube, arguing that the site's activities are legal.

Google Inc. on Monday filed a response to Viacom Inc.'s copyright infringement lawsuit over Google's massively popular video-sharing sharing site YouTube, arguing that the site's activities are legal.

Viacom had sued Google on March 13, claiming that YouTube has used digital technology to "wilfully infringe copyrights on a huge scale," facilitating the unauthorized viewing of many pieces of Viacom's programming from MTV, Comedy Central and other networks, such as The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.

In a response filed in federal court in New York late Monday, Google said that YouTube respects the importance of copyrights and goes above and beyond what is required under the U.S. Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which gives American web hosts protection from copyright lawsuits so long as they comply with requests to remove unauthorized material.

YouTube says its co-operates with holders of copyrights and immediately complies with requests to have unauthorized material removed from the site.

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.

In February, Viacom asked that YouTube remove more than 100,000 clips of its programming after negotiations to allow YouTube to offer authorized Viacom content fell apart.