A $1-billion copyright infringement lawsuit challenging YouTube's ability to keep copyrighted material off its popular video-sharing Internet website threatens how hundreds of millions of people exchange all kinds of information, YouTube owner Google Inc. said.
Google's lawyers made the claim in papers filed in U.S. District Court in New York as the company responded to Viacom Inc.'s latest lawsuit alleging that the Internet has led to "an explosion of copyright infringement" by YouTube and others.
The back-and-forth between the companies has intensified since Viacom brought its lawsuit last year, saying it was owed damages for the unauthorized viewing of its programming from MTV, Comedy Central and other networks.
In papers submitted to a judge late Friday, Google said YouTube "goes far beyond its legal obligations in assisting content owners to protect their works." It said that by seeking to make carriers and hosting providers liable for Internet communications, Viacom "threatens the way hundreds of millions of people legitimately exchange information, news, entertainment and political and artistic expression."
Google said YouTube was faithful to the requirements of the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act, saying the federal law was intended to protect companies such as YouTube as long as they responded properly to content owners' claims of infringement.