No filtering tools
Last fall, Viacom asked YouTube to remove many copyrighted clips, and YouTube complied. But it wasn't long before clips of popular shows such as Comedy Central's "The Daily Show" and Nickelodeon's "Sponge Bob" crept back on to the video-sharing site.
According to a Viacom statement: "Filtering tools promised repeatedly by YouTube and Google have not been put in place, and they continue to host and stream vast amounts of unauthorized video. YouTube and Google retain all of the revenue generated from this practice, without extending fair compensation to the people who have expended all of the effort and cost to create it. The recent addition of YouTube-served content to Google Video Search simply compounds this issue."
And while YouTube was previously viewed as a great way to promote content -- CBS, for example, has such a deal with YouTube and has said it has led to increased viewership -- media companies are now eyeing the dollars left on the table by letting viewers watch its online clips on video-sharing sites. For example, video content on a site such as Comedycentral.com commands as much as a $40 CPM. If an ad at a $40 CPM was sold against each of the 1.2 billion streams Viacom claims the 100,000 unauthorized clips represent, that's a missed revenue opportunity of as much as $48 million.
Viacom is also concerned by ads that could be sold next to its children's content.
In a statement today, YouTube said: "We have received a DMCA takedown request from Viacom, and we will comply with their request. 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."
In a statement, Viacom complained that "virtually every other distributor has acknowledged the fair value of entertainment content and has taken deliberate steps to concluding agreements with content providers."
It is sending users to its own 130 sites where content can be viewed, including iFilm, Comedycentral.com and Nick.com.
Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman suggested this type of action could be coming at a Credit Suisse conference in early December. Then he told analysts, "We expect to see the use of our content paid for one way or the other. Preference is to enter into mutually beneficial business deals to do so. If not, we will enforce our rights."