The English Premier League and US music publisher Bourne launched the lawsuit in the US district court in Manhattan, New York.
They claim YouTube, where 100 million videos are viewed daily, had encouraged users to view content on its site in order to raise its own profile which violated the content's commercial value.
The lawsuit seeks class action status and asks for a slice of profits made by the alleged actions along with unspecified damages.
The lawsuit said allowing visitors to view copyrighted materials without having to pay their owners made the site valuable enough for search engine Google to pay £532 million to buy YouTube in November.
Kent Walker, Google general counsel, said: "These suits simply misunderstand the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which balances the rights of copyright holders against the need to protect internet communications and content.
"They threaten the way people legitimately exchange information, news, entertainment, and political and artistic expression over the internet."
In March, media giant Viacom filed a similar suit against YouTube and Google for over £500 million in damages.
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