Film studios unite to send movies over the Web

Film studios unite to send movies over the Web

Five of the largest movie studios joined forces Thursday to co-develop an Internet-based movie delivery service for film enthusiasts in the US, showing an early commitment to protect their content on the Web.

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios (MGM), Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Universal Studios and Warner Bros felt that the number of broadband users in homes, businesses and universities in the US warranted the creation of an on-demand movie service via the Web. The studios will offer broadband users recently released films and access to the companies' large film libraries. The studios will also open the service to other film producers and distributors that want to use it as a delivery channel, according to a statement.

Industry pundits have wondered whether the movie industry would face similar issues to record labels battling online music swapping services such as the well-publicised Napster. By creating this service while broadband service is still young, the studios have managed to take early action toward controlling the delivery of their movies.

The companies plan to provide an "appropriate level of copyright protection to enable the legitimate distribution of content on the Web" using Digital Rights Management (DRM) software products which they plan to update as the service rolls out, according to the statement.

None of the studios announced pricing plans or a delivery date for the service at this time, saying that information would be provided at a later date. The service will deliver movies to PCs initially and then possibly to other types of devices in the future, according to the statement.

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