YouTube is being sued by a company whose website crashed after being swamped by tens of millions of visitors seeking the phenomenally popular online video-sharing service according to The Times newspaper in London.

Universal Tube & Rollform Equipment Corp, a small Ohio-based manufacturer that employs just 17 people, claims its website became a victim of YouTube's success after being engulfed by 68 million hits in August.

Getting more hits than most could only dream of, the company has said the cost of maintaining its website, utube.com has taken its toll on the company.

Ralph Girkins, Universal Tube’s president told AP: "We’ve had to move our site five times in an effort to stay ahead of the youtube.com visitors".

In a lawsuit filed with the US District Court, Girkins is asking YouTube, which was recently bought by Google for $1.6 billion to either abandon youtube.com or help pay to find an alternative for utube.com, which it claims predates the video-sharing site by a decade.

In related news users of YouTube have be warned today they face legal action if they upload clips that breach copyright laws.

Google has confirmed it is planning to pull tens of thousands of videos over fears it could be sued.

YouTube was recently forced to remove almost 30,000 clips of Japanese TV shows and films following the threat of legal action.

This week it has been warned by US TV network Comedy Central to remove clips of its shows.

As a result, the site is having to purge thousands of clips of The Daily Show With Jon Stewart, The Colbert Report and South Park.

Many commentators believe lawyers have been waiting in the wings for YouTube to be bought by a major player before moving in to strike as before the Google acquisition, YouTube had yet to make a profit.