Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Paramount, Google Link Up for Movie Rentals

Viacom and Google are locked in a copyright lawsuit that is nearly five years old. But that doesn’t mean the companies can’t do business together.

This morning, for example, Google’s YouTube is announcing a deal to rent movies from Viacom’s Paramount studio. The move will bring some 500 titles to Google, ranging from newish hits like the “Transformers” movies to oldies like “The Godfather” trilogy; users will also be able to rent the movies from Google’s new Google Play hub.

The announcement means that Google, which has been struggling for years to figure out Hollywood, now has rental deals with five of the six big studios: Paramount, Sony, Time Warner’s Warner Bros., Disney, and Comcast’s Universal.

The lone holdout is 20th Century Fox, which, like this Web site, is owned by News Corp. All six studios rent their movies via Apple’s iTunes. It’s worth noting that Paramount is one of the few studios that has experimented with direct-to-customer sales and rentals, via its own Web site.


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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work