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Disney Becomes Latest Studio To Offer Movies Online

Disney plans to release movies the same day they're available on DVD.
The Walt Disney Co. plans to begin offering movies online through CinemaNow Inc. starting next week, becoming the latest Hollywood studio to open its library to the Web. CinemaNow on Wednesday said it would start offering movies from the Disney unit Buena Vista Home Entertainment June 6, beginning with the recent release of "Glory Road." Other initial offerings of recent films would include "Flightplan," along with some older films, such as "The Insider."

Disney plans to release movies the same day they are available on DVD. Customers would be able to move the films to other PCs or portable devices that support CinemaNow's copyright-protection technology. The movies, however, can't be burned to DVDs. The deal is not exclusive, which means Disney can offer its films elsewhere on the Web.

This year marked the beginning of major studios making films available for download-to-own. Hollywood had refused to release movies on the Web due to concerns over illegal copying. Those fears have been set-aside with improvements in copyright-protection technology.

In April, CinemaNow rival Movielink announced deals to offer for download films from Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios, Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Twentieth Century Fox, Universal Studios and Warner Bros. Movielink is owned and operated by the same studios, with the exception of Twentieth Century.