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MILAN, July 30 (Reuters) - Italian broadcaster Mediaset (MS.MI) has sued Internet search company Google Inc. (GOOG.O) and unit YouTube for 500 million euros ($780 million) for illegally using its material.
Mediaset, controlled by Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, joins others broadcasters seeking compensation from YouTube, a video-sharing website, for copyright infringement.
Mediaset filed suit in a Rome court, the company said in a statement on Wednesday. A YouTube spokeswoman said it did not see the need for the legal case.
“YouTube respects copyright holders and takes copyright issues very seriously,” the spokeswoman said in London. Google bought YouTube in 2006.
“There is no need for legal action ... We prohibit users from uploading infringing material and we cooperate with all copyright holders to identify and promptly remove infringing content as soon as we are officially notified,” Google said in a separate statement.
Lawsuits and trials in Italian are often lengthy and it is forecast the outcome.
Mediaset said a sample analysis of YouTube at June 10 found “at least 4,643 videos and clips owned by us, equivalent to more than 325 hours of transmission without having rights”.
Mediaset said this was equal to the loss of 315,672 days of broadcasting by its three TV channels.
YouTube faces a $1 billion copyright infringement suit from U.S. entertainment group Viacom Inc. VIAb.N over illegally uploaded clips.
In a similar case, France’s largest commercial broadcaster TF1 TFFP.P is demanding 100 million euros.
Shares in Mediaset closed up 4.42 percent at 4.777 euros, while the DJ Stoxx media index .SXMP rose 1.62 percent. (Additional reporting by Kate Holton in London; editing by David Cowell)