Viacom's decision to issue a takedown notice to Google demanding the removal of all of its protected content from YouTube is not really a surprising move. Just this summer, Viacom teamed up with Google to promote its MTV Networks content on Google Video, in part to counteract the widespread use of its content on Youtube. MTV was the content provider in a test that wrapped video ads around its content on AdSense sites.
Even before Google bought YouTube, there were rumblings of secret deals with content owners to create rev-share deals to avoid this kind of legal action. Apparently Viacom was not one of the providers that reached an acceptable agreement.
Viacom was allegedly in talks late last year with Fox and NBC Universal to create a YouTube rival, but dropped out of those talks in December.
This legal action is also happening -- perhaps not coincidentally -- at the same time that Google is discussing ad options on YouTube. Another factor may be that Viacom is itself developing an ad-supported, user-generated video platform with ViTrue, talentload.tv.