Court reveals Viacom tried to buy YouTube

Viacom, which owns Comedy Central and other cable TV offerings like MTV, tried to add YouTube to its stable of products before that entity was devoured by Google in 2006. After losing the bid, but not directly related to that, Viacom filed suit against YouTube for copyright infringement, seeking $1 billion in damages.

To support its claims that YouTube knew what it was doing when it displayed programming like the "Colbert Report," Viacom has presented an email from YouTube co-founder Steve Chen to fellow co-founder Jawed Karim telling him to "stop putting stolen videos on the site." YouTube says that memo "had nothing to do with supposed piracy of media content."

If and when resolved, the three-year-old Viacom-YouTube battle is expected to set some boundaries for the emerging Internet TV space and how it uses or abuses content from traditional broadcast and media sources. The case is being heard in federal court in New York.

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