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BitTorrent Inks Licensing Deal With More Movie, TV Studios

BitTorrent Inc., developer of a popular online file-sharing tool, said Tuesday it has reached licensing deals that will boost the number of movies and TV shows it can offer as part of a video download service launching next year.

The privately held company said it signed agreements with Viacom Inc.'s (VIA-B) Paramount Pictures, News Corp.'s (NWS) 20th Century Fox, Lions Gate (LGF), Palm Pictures and Kadokawa Pictures USA.

The San Francisco-based BitTorrent also inked content deals with cable television networks G4 and Starz Media along with several Viacom-owned networks, including MTV Networks, VH1, SpikeTV, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central and Logo.

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Financial terms of the licensing agreements were not disclosed.

Added to BitTorrent's lineup were films such as "X-Men: The Last Stand," "Saw III" and "Mission: Impossible III," and the TV shows "Star Trek," "Laguna Beach" and "South Park."

Earlier this year, BitTorrent announced content deals with Time Warner Inc.'s (TWX) Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, Egami Media, Hart Sharp, Koch Entertainment and The Orchard.

Unlike other video-on-demand services, which distribute movies stored on their own servers directly to computer users, BitTorrent uses a peer-to-peer technology that assembles files from separate bits of data downloaded from other computer users across the Internet.

The technology makes the distribution of large files faster and less expensive.

BitTorrent plans to debut the commercial video service in February and expects to offer thousands of video titles in addition to music and software.

The company has yet to disclose a pricing scheme, but has said individual TV shows could be priced as low as $1, and movies will be sold for about the price of a DVD.

TV shows and most films can be purchased and burned on a backup DVD, although the copy will only play on the computer used to buy the original and not on standard DVD players.

Some films will only be available for viewing a limited number of times.

Last year, BitTorrent agreed to remove links to pirated versions of movies from its Web site and eliminate online links leading to unauthorized content owned by the seven studios that are members of the Motion Picture Association of America.

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