2022-08-17 05:13:30
Viacom tells YouTube to remove content middlemen/movies/politics/tv

FT.com

Google’s strategy for its newly acquired YouTube site was dealt a serious blow on Friday when Viacom, the owner of MTV, demanded that all its clips be removed from the user-generated internet company’s site.

Viacom, which owns youth brands such as Nickelodeon and Comedy
Central, made the demand after months of negotiations with YouTube and
Google. It said more than 100,000 affected video clips on the YouTube
site had generated more than 1.2bn video streams.

The
move threatens to wreck Google’s attempts to cement commercial
relationships with traditional media groups, which supply most material.

Since
acquiring YouTube for $1.65bn in October, Google and Eric Schmidt, its
chief executive, have made a frantic effort to forge relationships with
traditional media companies. They have managed to sign short-term deals
with
CBS, Warner Music, Sony-BMG and Universal Music.

Discussions
with Viacom appeared to break down over the splitting of advertising
revenues from Viacom content. There was also a fight over which company
would make those sales.

Viacom executives were frustrated that
YouTube had failed to implement a content-monitoring system by the
beginning of the year, as it had promised, so companies could easily
tell when their material was being posted.

It accused Google and
YouTube of reaping all the revenue from their material “without
extending fair compensation to the people who have expended all of the
effort and cost to create it”.

YouTube said it would comply with the request.

“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,” YouTube said in a statement. “We take copyright issues
very seriously. We prohibit users from uploading infringing material,
and we cooperate with all copyright holders to identify and promptly
remove infringing content as soon as we are officially notified.”

Viacom
and other traditional media groups are eager to distribute their
content to audiences of social networking and user-generated websites,
which are wildly popular with young consumers. But they are wary of
losing commercial and editorial control.

They complain that most
clips posted on the sites are derived from their copyrighted work and
have been appropriated without permission.

Viacom believes it
has particular leverage because it specialise in youth-oriented and
short-form video clips. It has previously demanded that clips from
programmes such as Comedy Central’s Daily Show be removed.

Under
US copyright laws, sites are protected from legal action as long as
they respond in a timely manner to requests to remove unauthorised
material.
NBC Universal, Disney and Viacom complain that they have to monitor hundreds of thousands of clips.

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