Viacom’s threat of legal action against YouTube for allowing copyrighted material to appear online has left Google forecasting the death of Internet freedom.

Google owns YouTube, and it has reacted furiously to broadcasting giant Viacom’s assertion that they had done ‘little or nothing’ to stop infringement.

Lawyers for Google state that the suit “threatens the way hundreds of millions of people legitimately exchange information.”

150,000 'breaches'

Viacom state that they had identified 150,000 instances where their copyrighted material was available without permission, including the likes of Al Gore’s environmental documentary An Inconvenient  Truth, episodes of South Park and Spongebob Squarepants.

“The availability on the YouTube site of a vast library of copyrighted works of plaintiffs and others is the cornerstone of the defendants’ business plan,” asserts Viacom.

Google has already indicated that it will not look to compromise, with vice president of content partnerships David Eun stating: “We’re going all the way to the Supreme Court.”