MySpace finds a way to keep user-uploaded videos online

Social networking site MySpace will place advertising on some user-uploaded videos that will be recognised by advertising software.

The company has signed a deal with MTV to allow uploads of its video content to remain online and attract advertising.

Websites that allow users to upload content have always struggled with the copyright implications.

MTV owner Viacom is engaged in a $1 billion legal battle with YouTube over its claim that the Google-owned video site profits from the infringements of copyright involved in users' uploading of videos without copyright holders' permission.

MySpace, though, has now signed a deal with MTV that will mean that any user-uploaded clips of its shows will be allowed to stay online.

They will be identified by software developed by Auditude and will have adverts screened within them, the three companies said.

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

Auditude said that it had technology that could automatically identify posted videos as long as that video had been indexed by its system. It said that it had indexed 250 million videos, or over a billion minutes of material.

"We embrace the fact that online video is fundamentally social and created the identification technology and advertising platform to include the power of audience syndication – fans uploading content to the web – as a form of content distribution," said Adam Cahan, Auditude chief executive. "Our partnership with MySpace allows us to help content owners, like MTV Networks, reach their fans where they are most active. We hope to grow the market for monetizing online video by simplifying ad targeting and providing scale through audience participation."

"We give our fans the power not only to consume our content, but also to share and interact with it across the Web,” said Mika Salmi, president of global digital media at MTV Networks. “With Auditude’s solution, we can continue to give users the freedom to take our content wherever they go online, while ensuring that we can monetize it as well.”

Auditude's technology inserts what the company calls an 'attribution overlay', which identifies the content and relays messages created by the owner of the intellectual property in that content.

It can relay an offer for the view to buy the programme they are watching, or to buy merchandise related to it. An ad will be shown in addition to the material in the 'attribution overlay' layer.

MySpace, in common with other sites that allow users to post video material, will take videos down when asked to by copyright holders. Copyright holding companies have argued, though, that this places to great a burden on copyright holders.

Viacom, which owns television stations including MTV, Comedy Central and Nickelodeon, argues in its YouTube suit that the video site could do more to prevent material which it owns to be shared online.

YouTube claims that it is protected by US copyright law, which it says shields it from liability if it acts swiftly to take material down once informed about it.