Google Inc. (GOOG) CEO Eric Schmidt says he plans to fight a $1 billion lawsuit from entertainment company Viacom Inc. (VIA) aggressively, saying the technology company has been obeying the law with its YouTube video-sharing service.

Viacom has claimed that YouTube is a massive center of copyright infringement, since it allows users to upload video clips from Viacom properties such as Comedy Central and Nickelodeon.

Google says it's obeying the law by taking down such clips whenever they're notified.

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Schmidt, in a wide-ranging discussion late Thursday night with reporters at a retreat for media and technology CEOs, said that the law was on Google's side.

Viacom, which built itself up from a small chain of movie theaters into a major media conglomerate, was a company "built on lawsuits," he said.

"Look at their history," he added, referring to a series of legal battles Viacom engaged in to get access to movies from Hollywood studios when it was a much smaller company.

He also pointed out that their current CEO, Philippe Dauman, was a former top lawyer for Viacom.

Schmidt said Google was making it easier for owners of copyrights to ensure that material won't get posted on YouTube. Viacom had sued Google in March after a long series of talks reached an impasse.

Google says the company respects copyrights and is covered under the provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which requires that owners of Web sites take down any infringing material as soon as they're notified.

On other topics, Schmidt said that the rapid growth of social networks such as Facebook would eventually be positive for the search company, even though many of the pages made on such networks are now private.

Google made a deal with MySpace, a major social networking site owned by News Corp. (NWS), to be the exclusive provider of search on the site.

Providing certain targets are met, the deal could result in $900 million in advertising revenue sharing for MySpace.

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