Can BitTorrent Go Legit With New Studio Deals?

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Almost immediately after Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban hit movie theaters in November 2003, Web surfers worldwide began downloading illegal — and free — copies of the Warner Bros. film through BitTorrent and other Internet file-sharing services.

Just two years later, Warner Bros. is teaming up with BitTorrent to sell Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, the latest movie in the series, and other movies this fall. Pricing hasn’t been set yet.

It’s the same software. And it’s being used by Web surfers everywhere for the same thing: Downloads. But instead of Warner Bros. losing money on illegal downloads with BitTorrent technology — which employs users’ computers to distribute content — it will get paid for each copy of Goblet of Fire. In the process, the file-sharing company will get paid a fee for helping enable the delivery.

Movie and TV show producers are experimenting with using file-sharing services to distribute content legally to personal computer users.

Service / Program / Copyright owner

  • Peer Impact / Cinderella Man / Universal Studios
  • Peer Impact / Babylon 5 / Warner Bros.
  • Peer Impact / The Dukes of Hazzard / Warner Bros.
  • Peer Impact / The Loop / 20th Century-Fox
  • Peer Impact / Firefly / 20th Century-Fox
  • BitTorrent / Natural Born Killers / Warner Bros.
  • BitTorrent / The Matrix / Warner Bros.
  • BitTorrent / Harry Potter series / Warner Bros.

TUTORIAL: How To Download Files from the Internet Using BitTorrent