YouTube contends that it hasn't run afoul of copyright laws, because it immediately removes clips when rights holders complain about their inclusion on the site.
But lawyers for the group of media companies, which includes News Corp., General Electric Co.'s NBC Universal and Viacom Inc., have concluded that YouTube could be liable to copyright penalties of $150,000 per unauthorized video, people familiar the matter say. Viacom believes that pirated versions of video clips from its cable channels -- including MTV, Comedy Central and Nickelodeon -- are watched 80,000 times a day via YouTube. At that rate, potential penalties could run into the billions of dollars.
Source: Media Titans Pressure YouTube Over Copyrights - WSJ.com
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