BitTorrent, Warner Bros In Summer Of Love

    May 9, 2006
    WebProNews Staff

The file sharing BitTorrent system landed its first major Hollywood studio customer, as Warner Bros agreed to distribute movies and TV programs using BitTorrent’s technology.

Sometime this summer, when a Warner Bros movie goes on sale on DVD, it could also be the first one to be offered for sale or rental over BitTorrent. Time Warner’s studio will try to sway file-sharers into becoming file purchasers instead.

Over 200 titles will be available initially as part of the program, BitTorrent said in a statement on its vastly revamped website.

BitTorrent has been canvassing the major studios and trying to persuade them to agree to use its technology to deliver movie files. Through its distributed method of delivering large files to computers, a typical movie can make it onto a PC in about ten minutes.

The MPAA and BitTorrent reached an agreement that will have BitTorrent working to prevent movie piracy over the system. Although some users have used BitTorrent to share movie files, BitTorrent has never condoned the use of its technology for pirating content.

“With integrated monetization for paid and ad-supported content, the forthcoming BitTorrent service will be an ideal platform for the online distribution of popular video,” BitTorrent said.

“If we can convert 5, 10, 15 percent of the peer-to-peer users that have been obtaining our product from illegitimate sources to becoming legitimate buyers of our product, that has the potential of a huge impact on our industry and our economics,” Kevin Tsujihara, president of the Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group, told MSNBC.

By pricing the BitTorrent versions of movies competitively, Warner Bros could make that kind of positive impact. If they get too greedy and don’t price those movies in a way that counters their limitations (backup copies made of BitTorrent downloaded films won’t be able to be played on standard DVD players), the agreement could be dead in the water.

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David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.