Google is trying to win permission from media companies to broadcast output legally on YouTube and avoid the threat of legal action, a report has said.
YouTube has grown rapidly in the past year
The Financial Times said Google was offering groups upfront payments for the right to use film and TV clips, music and other work on the site.
Google, which bought YouTube last month, is talking with groups including CBS, NBC, News Corp and Time Warner.
Some of their material is already on the site - but without permission.
Sony BMG, Warner Music and Universal Music have already signed agreements to supply some of their content in exchange for a share of advertising revenues.
About 100 million clips are viewed on YouTube each day - making it one of the world's most popular sites.
But there are fears that if media groups are not tied into deals which allows YouTube to broadcast materials without breaching copyright, then the site could collapse.
Music file sharing service Napster suffered that fate and shut down in 2001 when music companies sued it for copyright infringement. The Napster name and logo is now used for a separate, legitimate download service.
Google has vowed to take a tough line on copyright when it completes its $1.65bn (£875m) takeover of YouTube.
YouTube is thought to have escaped prosecution so far because it is a new business with little cash - though its takeover by Google changes that position.
YouTube's policy is to take down copyrighted material when it is alerted by the owners, but it has been criticised for not being vigilant enough.
It has also developed technology that will allow it to block copyrighted videos.