MySpace, MTV to Plant Ads in Pirate Video

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Social networking titan MySpace has announced a new partnership with MTV Networks and technology firm Auditude to try to wring a profit out of videos uploaded by MySpace subscribers in violation of copyright. Instead of issuing takedown notices for material distributed without permission, the system will try to identify pirated video clips via fingerprinting technology, then re-distribute them with embedded ads. The idea is that, instead of slapping fans with takedown notices for exhibiting enthusiasms for their favorite shows, the ad-enhanced versions of the uploaded videos leverage fans’ participation in the online video world and enable the legitimate content owners to benefit from the content.

“Auditude is opening the floodgates for users to program video on MySpace and ensure copyright holders get paid,” said MySpace’s president of marketing and sales Jeff Berman, in a statement. “In one fell swoop, Auditude and its partners are empowering consumers and building a better business model.”

As part of the trial, Auditude will launch an “Attribution Overlay” that identifies content and informs viewers of details about shows they’re watching online. Content owners will be able to use the overlao to embed information about the content in the clip, and lets the clip be associated with additional content or links to buy the show or related products.

The program will launch with Auditude handling a mix of current and archived shows, including MTV’s Punk’d and True Life, as well as Comedy Central faves The Daily Show,The Colbert Report, and Reno 911.

Auditude’s fingerprinting technology is similar to software already being employed by YouTube to identify uploaded content and give content owners the option of having infringing materials taken down or serving an ad along with it.

If the program succeeds, the broader video and television may warm up to online video: if they can look at user-uploaded video clips as a marketing opportunity rather than lost viewership, they may be more willing to let users post video clips and show their enthusiasm for favorite programming…of course, they may not be so keen on user postings that show copyrighted content in a less-than-positive light.