Movielink to allow movies transferred to DVDs

Company licenses digital rights management software that will allow downloaded movies burned to DVDs.

Movielink, which distributes movies over the Internet, is close to fixing one of the main drawbacks to downloading films over the Web.

Santa Monica, Calif.-based Movielink has purchased technology from software company Sonic Solutions that makes it possible for customers to transfer the movies they download onto DVDs, according to a Sonic Solutions' spokesman.

In the past, top Hollywood studios--fearful of illegal copies being made by pirates--demanded that movies be protected by strict digital rights management software (DRM), which prevents movies from being copied to DVD.

The problem with such a strategy was that many customers resented being forced to watch them on their PCs, analysts say. Now, Sonic Solutions is providing DVD-burning software that comes equipped with DRM protection, which would prevent the making of numerous copies, according to a statement from Sonic Solutions.

At a time when video is booming on the Web, feature films have been left on the sidelines. Technology hurdles, such as hours-long download times and poor image quality, have sapped consumer interest in buying movies over the Web. In the past two months, Movielink and longtime rival CinemaNow have been forced to watch some of the studios seek new distribution partners.

Warner Bros. Entertainment has struck distribution deals with video-sharing site Guba and file sharing-system BitTorrent. A week ago, Sony Pictures announced that it too would allow Guba to distribute its movies over the Web.

Meanwhile, the studios are actively looking to sell Movielink, according to numerous published reports.

Exactly when Movielink will launch the service was unclear on Sunday. In a news release, the company did not say whether the studios had signed off on allowing their films to be burned to DVD. A Movielink representative could not be reached for comment.

"We are anticipating an industry resolution to establish rules for converting secure Internet-delivered Movielink downloads into a secure format compatible with DVD players," Jim Ramo, Movielink's CEO, said in a statement.

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