Viacom, Joost ink Internet TV pact

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NEW YORK -- Viacom Inc. announced a partnership with Web television service Joost on Monday that will make their content available for free on the Internet.

This announcement comes just two weeks after Viacom demanded that Google-owned YouTube remove 100,000 clips from their site because of copyright violations.

Under the agreement, programming from Viacom's MTV Networks, BET Networks and Paramount Pictures will be available on Joost.com, an Internet video service that prides itself on broadcast-quality resolution. The company will provide new and old television programming on the site, with shows like "Real World," "Flavor of Love," and "Beavis and Butthead," along with full-length feature films from Paramount Pictures, Paramount Vantage and Paramount Classics.

"We're extremely pleased to be working with Joost," said Philippe Dauman, Viacom president and CEO. "We're determined to keep pushing and growing our digital presence and bring our programming to audiences on every platform and device that they want."

Currently in beta, Joost was founded by Janus Friis and Niklas Zennstrom, who also started Skype Ltd., an Internet telephone company and the Kazaa file sharing network. The company boasts that its technology is "piracy-proof" and guarantees copyright protection for content owners.

"We built this platform from the ground up, with companies like Viacom in mind," said Friis. "Our platform provides scalable distribution, in a completely safe environment that protects the interest of content owners and advertisers, while delighting viewers."

In addition to the programming, the service, available now in beta mode, will also provide links to related Web sites, instant messaging, message boards and news tickers. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
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