YouTube’s announcement that it will only offer anti-piracy tools to companies it’s signed distribution deals with has led to fierce criticism from the media industry.

Google-owned YouTube is planning to make technology available for media companies to identify pirated clips uploaded by users, but it’s only pledging to help the companies that offer their content via the video-sharing site.

One site has compared Google's method of attempting to secure distribution deals with companies to a “mafia shakedown”. It has also been reported that a spokesman for Viacom said: “YouTube's proposition that they will only protect copyrighted content if there's a business deal in place is unacceptable.”

The news follows last week's announcement by MySpace that it would offer its own copyright to protect content on the site.

YouTube has stated that it requires the cooperation of media company partners in order to identify copyrighted material.

Earlier this month, YouTube was asked to remove 100,000 clips by Viacom after failing to reach a distribution agreement.

However, Google said on the Google Copyright Blog that between 60 and 70 of the clips were not property of Viacom.