April 5, 2012
An Unlikely Union: YouTube To Offer 500 New Paramount Movies
YouTube announced on Wednesday it will partner with Paramount Pictures to bring movie rentals to the popular video-sharing site. Despite their long-standing legal proceedings with Paramount´s parent company, Viacom Inc., YouTube said it would offer movie rentals of nearly 500 Paramount movies. New films, such as “Hugo” can be rented alongside older films, such as “The Godfather,” according to Reuters.
Speaking with the Associated Press (AP), Malik Ducard, director of online content partnerships at YouTube said, “Paramount Pictures is one of the biggest movies studios on the planet. We´re thrilled to bring nearly 500 of their films to movie fans in the US and Canada on YouTube and Google Play.”The terms of this new deal were not immediately disclosed, leaving it unclear why these two companies, usually seen as at war with one another, are now committed to working together to bring popular movie rentals to the video sharing service. In recent court proceedings, YouTube avoided a lawsuit from Viacom claiming “Massive” copyright infringement. The lawsuit would have cost YouTube and parent company Google $1 billion dollars. Viacom is currently trying to overturn the decision of this case.
This lawsuit, dating back to 2007, dealt with the amount of copyrighted materials being uploaded to YouTube.
According to the suit, Viacom alleged many of its programs, such as “The Daily Show with John Stewart," “South Park," and “SpongeBob SquarePants” were illegally uploaded to YouTube. Viacom alleged Google executives knew about this illegal uploading and did nothing to stop it.
This case puts into play some aspects of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998, which made using technology to bypass anti-piracy measures illegal. The 1998 act also limited the liability of online service providers for copyright infringement by its users.
YouTube is the world´s most popular online video website, streaming more than 4 billion videos to computers, smartphones, tablets, and televisions every day. Every minute, users of the site upload upwards of 60 hours of video to be seen by users. The majority of these videos are homemade and amateur, though professionally produced content has been increasing over the past few years. YouTube began offering rentals to its users in 2010, when it first offered entries from the 2008 and 2009 Sundance Film Festival. Television shows and major motion pictures were available to rent in the months following the January debut of the service.
The addition of Paramount to the catalog of movie and television rentals means YouTube now has deals with 5 of the 6 major film studios, including independent studios. YouTube users will now have access to nearly 9,000 titles from every major film studio except Fox. Prices of these films range from $2.99 to $3.99 and will be available for 24 to 48 hours.
Over the next few weeks, these Paramount movies will begin to roll out to users in the United States and Canada. Users can view these movies through the YouTube website or on Google Play, Google´s new online store for music, games, movies, and apps.