Paramount to rent movies via YouTube, Google Play

What happened to that copyright fight between Paramount-parent company Viacom and Google? Paramount will give YouTube access to 500 titles.

Greg Sandoval Former Staff writer
Greg Sandoval covers media and digital entertainment for CNET News. Based in New York, Sandoval is a former reporter for The Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times. E-mail Greg, or follow him on Twitter at @sandoCNET.
Greg Sandoval
2 min read
YouTube and Google Play will get access to Paramount movies including the hit film 'True Grit.' Paramount Pictures

Paramount has agreed to give YouTube and Google Play access to 500 movies for rental, the companies announced today.

What's that you say? Haven't their parent companies fought one of the Web's nastiest copyright battles for the last five years? Viacom sued Google and YouTube in 2007 alleging that they encouraged users to pirate Viacom's TV shows and films. YouTube won the first round in federal district court but Viacom has appealed.

Viacom has actually done business with Google for years, and some of the company's content has been available on Android and YouTube for a while.

So, it appears Viacom also won't let the lawsuit stand in the way of distributing movies through a powerful outlet. YouTube, the Web's top video-sharing sites, is one of the most trafficked sites on the Web. Google is now trying to turn YouTube and the Android mobile platform into a destination for professionally made content.

CNET reported recently that Google Play may begin selling movies perhaps as early as this summer.

From Google and Paramount's statement:

Nearly 500 titles available for rent including new blockbusters like Captain America, Hugo, and The Adventures of Tin Tin together with classics like Coming to America and the Godfather.

These Paramount Titles will be available to users in the US and Canada on Google Play and YouTube.

In 2011 we focused on signing deals with the indie and major studios and scaling our rental service globally: We now have movies from 5 of the 6 major studios (Paramount, Sony Pictures, Universal, Walt Disney Studios and Warner Brothers) and over ten indie studios: Lionsgate Films, Magnolia, Starz, Weinstein, etc.)

In the last 10 months we've launched rentals in Canada, the United Kingdom, Japan and (last week) France.

Rentals will be priced at $3.99 for new releases; most older movies are $2.99. Almost all titles will be available for 24 hours once you begin watching. Most of our titles will be for 24 hours.