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YouTube Gets Rid of Viacom Programming

5 Feb, 2007 By: Jessica Wolf

Youtube.com has reportedly taken down as many as 100,000 clips of copyrighted Viacom programming, which includes MTV Networks shows and Paramount Pictures films.

Late last week, MTV Networks' parent company Viacom demanded the popular user-generated site owned by search giant Google remove any of the company's intellectual property appearing for free viewing on Youtube.

The two companies reportedly were in talks for a deal that would allow Viacom programming on the much-trafficked and highly populated Youtube, similar to deals the site has with other content providers, including CBS Corp. and NBC Universal.

But, in an interview with The New York Times, Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman said Youtube never made a serious offer.

“They have shown no sense of urgency to enter into an agreement with anyone,” he told the Times.

The Viacom hubbub comes after Warner Music recently demanded the site remove copyrighted music videos. Youtube is reportedly pursuing a deal with Warner to keep that content on the site.

Last year Youtube agreed to pull down scads of videos from such popular shows from Viacom's Comedy Central channel as “The Daily Show with John Stewart” and “The Colbert Report.” Stephen Colbert, host of the latter, on the air drew attention on the air to the plentitude of Youtube clips available from his show, even at one point enlisting fans and Youtube users in a special effects competition by posting a video of himself against a green screen battling solo with a lightsaber and asking fans to come up with backgrounds for it.

Youtube executives have always claimed the site makes no filters on content beyond pornography and hate speech, and because the identity of Youtube posters is anonymous, the company relies on copyright owners to inform the company when unauthorized videos appear.

As of late Monday, searches on Youtube for clips from popular Viacom programs “The Daily Show,” “The Colbert Report,” “South Park,” and “The Hills” returned no results, implying the fan site had removed any infringing clips.

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