Downloads of Films Soon to Be Burnable

Times Staff Writer

The online movie service Movielink has struck a technology licensing deal that would set the stage for selling film downloads that customers could burn to DVD.

Santa Monica-based Movielink today was expected to announce a deal with Sonic Solutions to use its DVD-on-Demand software to enable computer users to burn DVD copies of movies they download off the Internet. The on-demand movie service, jointly operated by five studios, has yet to say which entertainment companies will take advantage of this new feature.

“This gives consumers a more flexible product while providing copyright holders with adequate protection of their content,” Movielink Chief Executive Jim Ramo said in a statement.

Letting people burn movies they download to recordable DVDs is considered key to the growth of services such as Movielink.

For now, viewers can rent a movie or buy a permanent copy to keep on their computer’s hard drive, but they can’t play it using their DVD players.


Prices start at $1.99 to rent a film and run as high as $19.99 to buy new releases such as “Syriana” or “Dave Chappelle’s Block Party.” No pricing has been announced for the DVD burning feature.

The studios have struggled with how to deliver content securely via the Internet or myriad portable devices, such as cellphones, without undercutting sales at traditional retail stores or disrupting existing business relationships.

Sonic Solutions’ technology is designed to address Hollywood’s piracy concerns by allowing copy protection to be added to DVDs burned in the home.