Media giant Viacom told a federal appeals court Tuesday that YouTube, operated by Google, violated copyright laws when it allowed users to post videos of Viacom television shows and movies without prior authorization.

Both sides presented their case Tuesday in front of the U.S. Appeals Court for the Second Circuit in Manhattan, Reuters reported. The case began in 2007, and Viacom seeks damages of approximately $1 billion dollars.

A lower court sided with Google last year, arguing that YouTube was shielded from liability because of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, and because the company removed the videos in question once Viacom raised concerns. However, Reuters reports that YouTube was aware of the copyright infringement when the videos were displayed.

John Stewart and Stephen Colbert
Comedians Jon Stewart (R) and Stephen Colbert sing during the "Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear" on the Washington Mall last year. Viacom claims that YouTube willingly published shows such as "The Daily Show" and "The Colbert Report" without permission. Photo: REUTERS

On YouTube's uploading page, users are given a message stating, Important: Do not upload any TV shows, music videos, music concerts, or commercials without permission unless they consist entirely of content you created yourself.

New York-based Viacom owns a variety of popular cable television channels, including Nickelodeon, MTV, VH1 and Comedy Central. The company also owns Paramount Pictures Studios.

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Mountain View, Calif.-based Google purchased YouTube in November 2006 for $1.85 billion.

The case is Viacom International v. YouTube, 10-03270, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

Write to Samuel Weigley at