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By Giada Zampano and Liam Moloney
Of DOW JONES NEWSWIRES
ROME -(Dow Jones)- Mediaset SpA (MS.MI), Italy's largest private broadcaster,
said Wednesday it has filed a lawsuit for at least EUR500 million against Google
Inc.'s (GOOG) YouTube for the unlawful use of the Italian company's audio and
Mediaset's legal action is the latest in a string of other copyright and
trademark lawsuits, which analysts see as eventually weighing on Google's
In a statement, Mediaset said it filed the suit against Google and its video-
sharing unit YouTube in a Rome court.
The Milan-based company, owned by Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, said it is
seeking at least EUR500 million in damages and will also seek compensation for
missed advertising revenue due to unauthorized use of its files.
Mediaset rose on the news, and by 1354 GMT they were up 3.5% at EUR4.73,
outperforming a slightly positive overall market.
Mediaset said it found "at least 4,643 videos and clips owned by us,
equivalent to more than 325 hours of transmission without having rights" on
YouTube in a simple analysis June 10.
It said this was equal to the loss of 315,672 days of broadcasting on its
three TV channels.
YouTube said Wednesday it respected copyright holders and didn't see any need
for the legal case launched by Mediaset.
"YouTube respects copyright holders and takes copyright issues very seriously,
" said a company spokesperson. "There is no need for legal action and all the
Google and Viacom Inc. (VIA) earlier this month agreed to let Google make
YouTube visitor data anonymous before complying with a judge's order to deliver
the data to Viacom as part of a broader copyright lawsuit.
Viacom has sued YouTube for $1 billion, alleging that YouTube users have
posted clips from Viacom-owned cable-TV networks including MTV and Comedy
Central without authorization. Google has denied any wrongdoing.
Viacom and its copyright lawsuit against YouTube might have spoiled Google
earnings show, observers say. Google's second-quarter earnings fell short of
Wall Street estimates and most observers blamed the miss on the swooning economy
or a shortfall in the company's interest income.
But some analysts noted higher legal costs could affect Google's earnings for
some time to come.
Company Web site: www.mediaset.it
-By Giada Zampano and Liam Moloney, Dow Jones Newswires; +39 06 6976 6924;
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