MTV Pulls a Profit from Piracy

— -- Instead of throwing $1 billion lawsuits at the problem of copyright infringement, Viacom has decided to take the high road and make some money in the process. Today the company announced a partnership wirh MTV, MySpace, and the digital advertising company Auditude to embed ad clips into Viacom-owned content such as "The Colbert Report" and "Punk'd" uploaded on the popular social networking site. The deal marks a sea change from the company's original attitude toward video-sharing, which was "Don't."

Using its scanned library of more than1 billion minutes of content -- including more than 250 million videos, and 4 years worth of 100 channels of television -- Auditude can spot the digital fingerprints of professional video anywhere on the Web. They then allow content owners to embed a semi-transparent strip to the bottom of the video to shill related products and programs.

YouTube used the same strategy last year and got flack from users who, ironically, threatened to leave the site for MySpace.

If the process works and can pull a profit, expect other sites to follow in MySpace's footsteps, and say good-bye to advertising-free video.