YouTube.com, a popular video-sharing Web site that was smacked around in recent weeks by CBS and NBC, is starting to make friends in the TV world.
The site has struck its first formal partnership to obtain copyrighted content with MTV2, a cable channel overseen by Viacom's MTV Networks, a spokesman confirmed.
YouTube has drawn sharp criticism from broadcasters for allowing its users to upload pirated programming from the airwaves without permission.
MTV2 is seeding http://www.YouTube.com with multiminute clips from a pair of series promoting new seasons and DVD releases this month: "The Andy Milonakis Show" and "Wonder Showzen." The Web site already is home to dozens of other clips drawn from the network but uploaded to YouTube without the network's consent.
MTV2 is listed atop the rankings of "today's featured videos" on the YouTube homepage along with a network logo identifying MTV2 as an "official partner."
The partnership comes amid increasing concerns that YouTube is becoming more of a virtual breeding ground for pirated video than a source of user-generated video. Last week, NBC Universal directed YouTube to remove hundreds of clips from the site, and CBS News did the same regarding one specific segment that became a popular YouTube attraction.
YouTube instituted a few changes to its site this week to make it a more corporate-friendly environment. Users seeking to upload material are now instructed to agree that they in fact own the content that they intend to distribute via YouTube, which the company hopes serves as a deterrent to copyright violators.
In addition, the upload process is now embedded with a "premium content provider program" that offers to co-brand any "professional" material.
For MTV2, the YouTube alliance is part of a broader effort to drum up interest in the new programming with various viral-video sites, including iFilm, which Viacom acquired last year.