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I don’t know about you, but when I see a short clip from a film on YouTube I think of it as advertising not piracy. After all, I see the clip and then I want to run out and see the movie. Hollywood has for the most part seen its clips on YouTube as piracy, but it could be coming around.

Google today announced a partnership with Lions Gate Entertainment Corp., perhaps best known as the studio behind the Saw films and other smaller budget hits. This deal will allow the studio to put clips from its films on YouTube and share in any advertising revenue earned off of them. Even clips that other YouTube users put up from Lions Gate films will earn the studio money, according to the Associated Press.

This is how short clips should be put online, freely. Again, they are promotional. Another studio, Paramount, did not understand that concept back in March when it announced it was giving away some of its clips online but only doing so in a restricted way through a Facebook application called VooZoo. Even worse was that Paramount executive vice president for digital entertainment, Derek Broes, indicated that the studio was looking to talk to Apple about selling the movie clips via iTunes. Not entire movies, short clips — for sale? [Read the update at the bottom of Paramount’s take on this.]

This YouTube/Lions Gate deal came about after the studio requested that Google take down its copyrighted clips from the popular video sharing site. The two were able to work out an agreement for a new Lions Gate channel on YouTube that will launch in September.

The honest comment of the week award goes to Lions Gate president of digital media Curt Marvis who said, “The idea here is not to alienate fans of particular movies or TV shows,” Marvis said. “We just want to make some money out of it.”

Google is also said to be talking with other studios about similar deals. Not included in that group is the aforementioned Paramount, whose parent company Viacom is currently suing YouTube for a billion dollars over unauthorized use of copyrighted clips.

In March, the movie studio Warner Brothers teamed up with YouTube for an advertising campaign for its new film at the time, Get Smart. It would seem the studios are starting to warm to the idea of using YouTube, which is by far the dominant video sharing site in the United States and many other countries, to promote their films.

Below find the classic business card clip from the Lions Gate film American Psycho.

Update: Paramount executive vice president for digital entertainment Derek Broes reached out to us with what he felt were inaccuracies in our interpretation of Paramount’s position.

Broes feels thats the VooZoo app which Paramount utilizes to spread clips around Facebook isn’t as limited as we’ve portrayed. He notes Facebook’s high usage, but of course, you still have to be in Facebook and have the application, which are two limiting factors.

He also made it clear that rights issues for film and television clips make using them not as straightforward as simply putting them online. As for Lions Gate doing that, Broes says that it’s easy to say you are going to do that, but another thing to go through the process of clearing each clip that is going to go online.

Finally, Broes notes that Paramount is looking into similar ad-supported deals with other companies as well but does not plan at this time to sell clips through iTunes, despite the report from The Washington Post in March. He did leave open the possibility that other personalize products based around clips such as video ringtones could be sold in the future.

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