Warner first to distribute via BitTorrent

Written by Brett Thomas

May 9, 2006 | 14:48

Tags: #batman #download #harry-potter #legal #matrix #p2p #peer-to-peer #television

Companies: #bittorrent #warner-bros

That's right, Bugs Bunny and friends are about to be the first motion picture company to embrace peer-to-peer downloading...legally.

Warner Brothers Studios has reached an agreement with the now entirely legal (ahem) BitTorrent. With all of the legal troubles safely behind (of course, right?), everyone's favorite P2P is going to carry legitimate links to new and past Warner Brothers content.

The network is set to distribute over 200 productions starting in June of this year, comprised of both movies and television shows. Of course, there is a catch: the service is only available to US residents at release due to contract law.

Featured titles to be initially offered will include newer releases such as:
  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
  • Tim Burton's Corpse Bride
  • Dukes of Hazzard
  • North Country, and
  • Rumor Has It
There is also a Coming Soon image of Batman Begins on the BitTorrent homepage. Also announced are 'library titles' such as The Matrix, Dog Day Afternoon and Natural Born Killers. TV programming will include shows such as Babylon 5 and Dukes of Hazzard.

This move is the first attempt by any card-carrying MPAA member to take file-sharing as a business seriously. We can be sure that many studios are waiting in the wings, watching to see how the WB controls its content, or whether this will end up a short-lived disaster.

It raises just as many questions as it answers, including the curious questions of how Warner Bros will implement DRM, whether there will be any commercial-supported content, and whether Charmed really IS going to finally be cancelled.

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