YouTube owner Google is introducing a new tool on its video sharing website which will allow copyright owners to automatically report violation of content ownership. It means that when someone uploads some copyrighted content to the site, the owner of that content will easily be able to report it and get the video removed from the site.

Google Eric Schmidt said that the tool is the first step in showing that YouTube is not encouraging users to violate copyright ownership. "As that product rolls out, the issue becomes moot," Schmidt said.

The 'Claim Your Content' feature will be included on every single video page on the YouTube website, so that registered copyright owners will be able to log in and get any illegally-posted videos removed at a moment's notice.

£500m lawsuit

Last month Viacom , the owner of MTV and Nickelodeon, launched a $1bn (£500m) lawsuit against YouTube for "massive intentional copyright infringement".

The complaint contends that "160,000 unauthorised clips of Viacom programming" are available on YouTube. The suit maintains these clips have been viewed more than 1.5bn times between them.

Viacom says its intent is to compel YouTube and Google to comply with copyright laws - something that YouTube looks as though it has now done.

"YouTube is a significant, for-profit organisation that has built a lucrative business out of exploiting the devotion of fans to others' creative works in order to enrich itself and its corporate parent Google," said a statement released by Viacom when the lawsuit was filed.