YouTube chief counsel Zahavah Levine has accused media firm Viacom of using the video sharing site to leak its own material.
The accusation comes as the two firms prepare to meet in court in a case brought by Viacom against YouTube for what it calls "massive intentional copyright infringement".
On his official YouTube blog, Levine warned that the case could spell the end for the firm. " YouTube and sites like it will cease to exist in their current form if Viacom and others have their way in their lawsuits against YouTube," he wrote.
Viacom argued that YouTube does not do enough to protect rights holders, but Levine countered that determining ownership is not its responsibility, but that of the rights holder. He cited the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), which protects service providers, adding, "In this case, it was made even harder by Viacom’s own practices."
Levine alleged that both before and after the complaint was launched, Viacom workers leaked videos to YouTube with the blessing of their employer.
"For years, Viacom continuously and secretly uploaded its content to YouTube, even while publicly complaining about its presence [there]," Levine wrote.
He alleged that Viacom hired no fewer than 18 different marketing agencies to upload its content to the site, deliberately "roughing up" the videos to make them look stolen or leaked.
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