In one of the most unusual stories I have seen in a while, media and Internet titans Viacom and Google are sparring publicly. Earlier this week court documents revealed a YouTube cofounder consistently uploaded copyrighted material to the site to boost traffic. Google contends Viacom, through hired agencies and employees working at Internet cafes degraded copyrighted content and upload it in an effort it to seem like it was a grass roots movement. Now Viacom comes out with a public statement explaining YouTube was intentionally built on infringement.
As this case drags on it can’t be good for the reputations of either company and it seems to me that with Google’s deep pockets, it could be on the hook for a significant amount of money if a court decides YouTube was built on pirated content with the company actively participating in the illegal uploading.