Media company Viacom Inc., which owns the cable networks MTV, VH1, Nickelodeon and the Paramount Pictures movie studio, asked YouTube on Friday to remove more than 100,000 unauthorized clips from its hugely popular video-sharing site.
Viacom said in a statement that after several months of talks with YouTube and its corporate parent, the online search leader Google Inc., “it has become clear that YouTube is unwilling to come to a fair market agreement that would make Viacom content available to YouTube users.”
Viacom said that YouTube and Google had failed to deliver on several “filtering tools” to control unauthorized video from appearing on the hugely popular site.
The company was now asking YouTube to take the clips down, but stopped short of filing a lawsuit.
Under federal copyright law, online services such as YouTube are generally immune from liability as long as it responds to takedown requests such as these, which YouTube often does. Less clear legally is what happens when another user posts the same video, something commonly done on the free video-sharing site.
A spokesman for YouTube didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment.
In November, YouTube agreed to delete nearly 30,000 files after the Japan Society for Rights of Authors, Composers and Publishers complained of copyright infringement.
Some media companies such as CBS Corp. and General Electric Co.’s NBC Universal have made deals to allow YouTube to use video clips from their programming, but others have yet to agree with the site over ways to get compensated for the use of their copyrighted material.
Universal Music Group, a division of French telecommunications giant Vivendi SA, had threatened to sue YouTube for copyright infringement, saying it was a hub for pirated music videos, but later reached a licensing deal with them last year.
Despite Viacom’s problems with YouTube, the company’s MTV Networks division reached a licensing deal last year with Google that allows the search company’s video service to use clips from MTV and its sibling networks under a revenue-sharing agreement.