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Quick Hits: YouTube, Viacom Get Ready To Rumble

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Brief scrutinty of today's headlines

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Google's (GOOG) YouTube is throwing fists at Viacom's (VIA) $1 billion copyright infringement lawsuit, defending what it says is its right to Internet freedom.

BBC News reports that in a revised lawsuit filed last month, Viacom is requesting damages for the unauthorized viewing of its programs on the popular video site.

Viacom began legal action last year, claiming that more than 150,000 copyrighted clips are circulating YouTube, including snippets of MTV's Unplugged, Nickelodeon's SpongeBob Square Pants, Comedy Central's South Park and the Michael Moore documentary An Inconvenient Truth, which has been viewed 1.5 billion times.

A Viacom representative said the violations represent only a small portion of pirated content available on YouTube, and excludes numerous abuses of other companies' copyrighted material.

Google's lawyers, meanwhile, declared the accusations a threat to the way hundreds of millions of people exchange information over the Web, and maintained YouTube's strict adherence to the requirements of the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act, as well as its proactive response to claims of infringement.

An insistent Google plans to take the dispute all the way to the Supreme Court, and has recently launched an anti-piracy tool to double check uploaded videos against original content in an effort to spot and disqualify bootlegged material.

For more on Google, check out Hoofy & Boo's always astute report.

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