In what is being seen as a key media test case, the Viacom group, owner of MTV and the Paramount studios, demanded 2 February that the video exchange site YouTube should immediately remove 100,000 clips Viacom says are pirated and for which "fair" payment should be made. YouTube has agreed to remove the clips.

The agreement comes after several months of negotiations during which the main television, cinema and music corporations have tried unsuccessfully to agree payment terms with YouTube, which has been attracted millions of video contributions from Internet users. However, many video clips featured on the site include copyrighted television, film or music extracts.

News Corporation-owned Twentieth Century Fox issued a court summons against YouTube January 26 asking it to identity an Internet user who uploaded pirated extracts of Fox shows to the website.

However, most media corporations prefer to work with YouTube, in exchange for a share of potential future advertising revenues.

In October 2006, several media corporations came to an agreement with YouTube allowing internet users to upload their content to the site, though the terms of the agreement have not been made public. The corporations are Warner Music, Universal - which had previously threatened YouTube with court action - Sony, and broadcaster CBS, which has even launched with YouTube a video competition, with entries broadcast on its stations.

However, the agreement is dependent on the creation of a system - not yet in place - to analyse the video content published on YouTube. Viacom has criticised the absense of the system.

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