U.S. media giant Viacom has sued the leading Internet search provider, Google, and its online video-sharing business, YouTube, for more than $1 billion in alleged copyright violations.
Viacom issued a statement Tuesday saying it filed the suit in a U.S. district court, accusing Google and YouTube of "massive intentional copyright infringement."
Viacom owns several media brands, including the music channel MTV and the children's network Nickelodeon. Viacom alleges that more than 160,000 snippets of its programming have been viewed on YouTube millions and millions of times.
Viacom says YouTube's business model is based on building traffic and selling advertising for unlicensed content.
But Google disagrees, saying in a statement that YouTube respects the legal rights of copyright holders.
Google bought YouTube last year for more than $1.5 billion, combining two of the Internet's most popular brands.
YouTube, founded two years ago in February 2005, allows users to display and share short video films.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.