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Viacom to launch YouTube rival in illegal content clampdown

Viacom has agreed a licensing deal with video content specialists Joost to create a rival to YouTube just weeks after the media conglomerate ordered a clampdown on the illegal distribution of its broadcast output on the Google-owned video portal. The deal with Joost has come about after a reported breakdown in talks between Google and Viacom over the distribution of around 1.2bn video streams from Viacom-owned shows on YouTube, including MTV and Nickelodeon, earlier in the month. Viacom has accused YouTube's owners Google of failing to honour its commitment to stopping file share violations, and has now responded by creating its own video portal network with multimedia company Joost. Joost, originally called The Venice Project, was founded by Niklas Zennstrm and Janus Friis, the individuals behind Skype and Kazaa. It is understood that the deal with Joost will allow Viacom to screen hundreds of hours of its broadcast output for many of its shows, including 'The Daily Show', 'South Park' and 'Family Guy'. According to reports, Viacom's deal with Joost is similar to the one it offered Google earlier in the month prior to discussions breaking down. Joost has offered reassurances it would actively be protecting Viacom's copyrights when the service finally launches, making the deal an attractive one for Viacom. Philippe Dauman, chief executive officer of Viacom, said the deal with Joost showed Viacom was: "able to enter into transactions with companies that respect our content and the considerations of our business." He added: "We're interested in distribution of our content on as many platforms as possible, provided we can operate in a secure environment." Last week, Viacom said it was laying the groundwork to allow viewers to upload clips from MTV shows onto people's personal blogs and websites, due to increased competition from video sharing sites. No responsibility can be taken for the content of external Internet sites.

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