Mediaset is latest broadcast company to go after YouTube

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Italian broadcast giant Mediaset is suing YouTube and parent company Google for €500 million ($795 million) plus damages for advertising losses they claim resulted from YouTube illegally distributing Mediaset content online.

The case, announced Wednesday, will pit the might of Italy's largest broadcaster and its leading shareholder — Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi — against Google in the same Rome circuit court where Berlusconi has faced multiple charges of corruption.

Mediaset lawyers said that during a random visit in June, they found more than 325 hours and nearly 5,000 clips of Mediaset-owned content on YouTube.

"With the information that has come to light and the quantity of (Mediaset) files illegally on the site, it is possible to calculate that the group's three channels have lost 315,672 audience viewing days," the company said.

Mediaset said the €500 million is in addition to damages not yet calculated.

The case comes on the heels of Monday's court-ordered closure of Colombo-BT.org, an Italian YouTube rival accused of illegally sharing music and movie files. (partialdiff)
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