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Kazaa says hello to digital Bollywood

The file-swapping company, which is locked in a legal battle with Hollywood studios, has struck a deal to digitally distribute a full-length feature film made in India's Bollywood.

File-swapping company Sharman Networks on Thursday said it will digitally distribute a feature film from Bollywood, using its peer-to-peer application, Kazaa.

The Hindi-language film, "Supari," will be offered to Kazaa users for $2.99, under the terms of the agreement the Australian company has signed with P2P products distributor Altnet and Indian filmmaker Aum Creates Unlimited.

Songs from the movie will available for 90 cents each, while trailers and production footage can be downloaded for free. The filmmaker will get paid each time the movie file is shared and purchased via Kazaa.

Sharman has been making efforts to convince record companies and movie studios that it's sincere about becoming a legitimate, licensed distributor of mainstream entertainment content. In lawsuits it filed against the recording industry and Hollywood studios, Sharman has claimed that its intentions are to push unauthorized sharing almost wholly off the network.

The Bollywood movie will be the first full-length feature film to be offered to 60 million Kazaa users globally, the company said. Such distribution, using Altnet services, enables filmmakers to exercise control over the pricing and distribution of their content.

In addition, P2P technology can help cut bandwidth costs up to 90 percent, compared with traditional online distribution, Sharman added.

The Hindi film industry, based in Mumbai, India, churns out close to 700 movies a year. Many of these films are distributed in areas in North America, Europe and the Gulf countries where Indian expatriates live.

"The Bollywood movie market is growing at twice the rate of Hollywood, in terms of production and revenue. This is where the benefits of P2P technology become really clear," Sharman CEO Nikki Hemming said in a statement. "P2P technology offers the movie industry a huge opportunity to massively enhance its distribution and generate revenue."