While Viacom pushes forward with their $1 billion lawsuit against YouTube, Viacom subsidiary MTV Networks (which includes MTV as well as Comedy Central, BET, Spike and Nickelodeon) has reached a deal with MySpace to allow users of the social networking site to post videos of copyrighted content that was originally broadcast over the cable channels.

Rather than monitoring for copyrighted material among the videos uploaded by users with the purpose of forcing them to take it down, MySpace and MTV are partnering up with a technology company named Auditude, which will monitor for copyrighted material with the purpose of making more money for everyone involved.

The clips will have transparent overlays placed along the bottom third of the picture for about ten to fifteen seconds that describe the clips’ vital stats (e.g., the name of the show and original airdate) and present the viewer with the opportunity to click through and purchase the episode. An advertisement will follow, and it will be fully vetted to make sure that it doesn’t infringe on any exclusive advertising rights deals associated with the television show.

Jeff Berman, president of marketing and sales at MySpace, said, “This allows us to go from a world of no to a world of yes.” But Mika Salmi, President of Global Digital Media at MTV Networks, more accurately described the motivation when he said, “This is a step to let consumers upload videos and let us make money on it.” (emphasis added)

This appears to be a win-win arrangement for copyright holders such as MTV and for end-users viewing the clips online, so where’s the harm in letting MySpace and Auditude make it a win-win-win-win and capitalize along the way?

–Andy Veit

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