I don't think it's as conspiratory as that.
I think this is just a specific case of supply and demand. Even sites like Lifehacker and Download Squad tow the line by hosting lists of p2p apps but not actual links.
It's just a repeated case of the rule makers not understanding how the market works and end up padding the illegal black market.
Of course there is no such market in the internet that pays that's why often big business fail when they start to apply this phase of the issue:
...and start charging for the services the site once offered for free once they have locked in users and locked in their position as the dominant market force.
There's nothing really big market about it. Tons of websites cheat the SEO, use linkbaits, make top 10 lists, make short uninformed but reader friendly posts at a rapid rate... how is Youtube and Viacom worse for playing the game and uploading copyrighted materials?
They're just taking advantage of the demand caused by how the copyright banning promoted the appeal for copyright videos viewed with better convenience.
Believe me if there were no copyright and sites like Youtube uploaded the legal copies, they might not have gotten as big as say a site like Youtube but also allowed direct torrent series downloading but with warning labels (pre-breakdown Mininova if combined with Youtube)
It's just the opportunist taking advantage of the other richer opportunists. Viacom just didn't know how to play the game well but sites like Gaia Online, Gamefaqs.com, sites bought by Google, they tow that line too and are doing well even by making the product inferior. Best (or worst depending on which side of the fence you are), they have a sustainable website.