NEW YORK – Viacom Inc. (VIA.B), parent company of popular television networks such as Comedy Central and MTV, has demanded that Google Inc.'s (GOOG) online video service YouTube yank all of its video clips after the two media giants failed to reach an agreement.
About 100,000 video clips from Viacom-owned properties are part of the request.
YouTube, a site where users post videos for other viewers to watch for free, is one of the recent darlings of the Web industry. In October, Internet search king Google bought the viral video hub for $1.65 billion.
Viacom said its pirated programs on YouTube generate about 1.2 billion video streams, based on a study from an outside consultant.
According to the YouTube site, users download over 70 million video clips a day, though in the past the video provider has said that views have exceeded 100 million per day.
YouTube's services have not been without controversy. Many companies have raised concerns over copyright infringements as television clips and other legally protected media have made their way onto the site. Before Google's purchase, some critics said that the legal liability of YouTube and its potential copyright infringements made it a poor investment.
The fiery media billionaire, Mark Cuban, even went so far as to say anyone who wanted to buy YouTube was a "moron."
Nevertheless, major media companies and their entities, such as CBS Corp. (CBS) and Universal Music Group struck distribution agreements with YouTube prior to its union with Google.
As of midday on Friday, a search for "MTV" on YouTube still yielded over 50,000 results, with clips from such shows as "MTV Cribs" and "True Life."
Reuters contributed to this report.