Mediaset, YouTube close to settlement

Mediaset seeking $700 mil in damages for use of content

ROME -- Italian broadcaster Mediaset said on Monday that it is on the verge of reaching a deal with YouTube over an 18-month-old dispute in which the Italian company sought €500 million ($700 million) in damages for what it said was the illegal use of its content on YouTube.

According to Italian media, the deal would involve Mediaset's dropping its still-pending lawsuit against the Google Inc. subsidiary, and for YouTube to select Mediaset's advertising unit Publitalia as its advertising agent in Italy.

Reports were that Mediaset would seek to involve other Italian content providers in the deal, with each taking a percentage of the ad revenue YouTube derived from sites connected with their content.

Mediaset officials did not return phone calls seeking comment Monday. A Google spokesperson, meanwhile, declined to comment when contacted, saying the company does not comment on rumors.

In its initial complaint from July 2008, Mediaset said it had discovered some 5,000 clips of Mediaset content on YouTube totaling 325 hours of video. The company's complaint alleged that by hosting those videos that YouTube had siphoned off more than 300,000 audience viewing days that would have otherwise been spent watching Mediaset channels.

Mediaset said in Sept. 2008 that it was open to reaching a settlement with YouTube, but until Monday neither company had spoken publicly about the issue.