Viacom, YouTube reach data deal

The media giant is allowing the Google subsidiary to eliminate viewers' identifying information from records it must turn over.

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By CNN's Karina Frayter

NEW YORK (CNN) -- Viacom has agreed to let Google strip identifying information from YouTube viewers' data before complying with a judge's order to hand over the records as part of a copyright infringement lawsuit.

Viacom and other parties to the litigation agreed to allow YouTube to remove user names and computer Internet protocol (IP) addresses from the data to ensure protection of users' privacy, YouTube said in a blog posting late Monday night. YouTube is a Google subsidiary.

"We remain committed to protecting your privacy and we'll continue to fight for your right to share and broadcast your work on YouTube," reads the posting.

Instead of providing Viacom the user names and IP addresses for everyone who has viewed a video on YouTube, Google will provide a random, anonymous code number, a spokesman for the company told CNN.

Viacom Vice President Jeremy Zweig responded to the agreement by saying, "We trust that Google will comply fully with the court's order and promptly produce the remaining information about their own activities."

The two companies have been negotiating over the potentially sensitive data since U.S. District Judge Louis L. Stanton earlier this month ordered Google to give Viacom the YouTube viewing data.

Viacom filed the lawsuit in March 2007, seeking $1 billion for alleged copyright infringement.

In the lawsuit, Viacom said that "almost 160,000 unauthorized clips of Viacom's programming have been available on YouTube and that these clips had been viewed more than 1.5 billion times."

In addition to seeking damages, Viacom said it wants an injunction prohibiting Google (GOOG, Fortune 500) and YouTube from further copyright infringement.

Viacom (VIA), which was spun off from what is now CBS Corp. (CBS, Fortune 500) in December 2005, includes film studios, such as Paramount Pictures and DreamWorks; television networks, such as Comedy Central, BET and MTV; and other companies. To top of page

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