``It has become clear that YouTube is unwilling to come to a fair market agreement that would make Viacom content available to YouTube users,'' the entertainment giant said in a 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.''
No Google spokesman was immediately available to respond to Viacom's legal notice, which was e-mailed to YouTube this morning. Google acquired YouTube in October.
Viacom said its videos, including clips from MTV, VHI, Comedy Central and Nickelodeon, had been streamed well over a billion times.
``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 statement said.
In a conference call with analysts on Wednesday, Google Chief Executive Eric Schmidt said ``YouTube is in the middle of doing interesting deals which we will account for as they get signed.''
Schmidt had confirmed that technology that would flag copyrighted material had not been implemented, though it is available. Schmidt said Google technologists were working to create their own copyright-detecting software.
Schmidt said Google believes that there was value in connecting copyright holders with the fanatical fans who log into YouTube on a regular basis.
In an interview with the Mercury News, Mike Fricklas, Viacom's general counsel said Viacom agreed that there was value in reaching YouTube's audience. However, he said Viacom had reached the point of ``zero tolerance,'' after sending YouTube tens of thousands of takedown notices since the video-sharing site went live more than a year ago.
``We are asking to get paid,'' Fricklas said. ``Our content is very valuable and we think that has obviously contributed to YouTube's growth and to Google.''
Fricklas said Viacom used automated technology to identify its content on YouTube, and that Google could do the same.
Fricklas said he is expecting YouTube to remove Viacom's content by this afternoon. He said Viacom was willing to continue to negotiate.
Viacom's statement said: ``Our hope is that YouTube and Google will support a fair and authorized distribution model that allows consumers to continue to enjoy our very popular content now and in the future.''
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