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Viacom, Google settle long-running YouTube copyright lawsuit

Ending a long-running legal battle, search giant Google has settled a landmark copyright lawsuit in which Viacom, the parent company of such television networks as MTV, Comedy Central, and Nickelodeon, accused the former of posting its films and television shows on YouTube without permission.

Started in 2007, the dispute between the two companies earlier drew attention from Hollywood, the music industry and Internet companies.

“This settlement reflects the growing collaborative dialogue between our two companies on important opportunities, and we look forward to working more closely together,” Google and Viacom said in a joint statement.

Though the two companies haven’t disclosed the terms of the deal, it is said that no money changed hands. Viacom had originally filed the lawsuit against YouTube and others in 2007. The search giant was blamed for illegally broadcasting 79,000 copyrighted videos on its website between 2005 and 2008. Viacom had sought $1billion in damages from Google.

YouTube had twice before scored victory in court after Viacom was unsuccessful in convincing the judge that it had “proof that YouTube had knowledge or awareness of any specific infringements of clips-in-suit.”

Judge Louis Stanton declared in April last year, “The burden of showing that YouTube knew or was aware of the specific infringements of the works in suit cannot be shifted to YouTube to disprove.”

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The settlement goes on to show the change in the attitude toward online video for traditional content companies.