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BitTorrent to sell Warner movie downloads

P2P company goes commercial

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Warner Bros is to use BitTorrent technology to deliver movie downloads, the Hollywood Studio's home entertainment division announced today, just a week after it was alleged that Apple will use the same system to power its upcoming movie download service.

This summer, Warner will make around 200 titles - among them Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and the Babylon 5 TV series - available for download via BitTorrent. Unsurprisingly, the content will be DRM-protected. They will be available for computer playback only.

The move has been driven by BitTorrent itself, which has licensed the content to sell through its website. BitTorrent co-founder Ashwin Navin told Reuters the company is in talks with other studios, though he wouldn't name names. Nor would he say how much the downloads will cost.

In November 2005, BitTorrent reached a deal with the US Motion Picture Ass. of America (MPAA) to remove links to pirated movies files from its search engine. Earlier this year, it was suggested that BitTorrent had its eye on the content sale arena, and that's where today's announcement takes it.

It's not yet known which company is providing the DRM technology the service will use, but it will have to work alongside the BitTorrent system which splits content into numerous chunks all capable of being pulled from any number of machines simultaneously to accelerate delivery. When all the components are downloaded, from whatever sources, the software stiches them together and presumably validates the file for playback.

Last week, reports suggested that Apple is planning to integrate BitTorrent P2P technology into Mac OS X as both a software delivery mechanism and potentially as the foundation for a movie download service. ®

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