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Last Updated: Thursday, 20 November, 2003, 10:05 GMT
Online movies promised by 2005
Matrix Reloaded
Matrix Reloaded was a victim of internet piracy
Top Hollywood executive Jack Valenti has said technological developments could mean newly released films being available online by 2005.

The Motion Picture Association Of America chief said issues of secure delivery were almost resolved.

Valenti said films should go straight from big screen to internet well before rental release on DVD and video.

However, the film business had no plans to follow the music industry in suing pirates, Valenti added.


"As long as stealing movies and music is high-reward and no risk, people are going to do it," he said.

According to Valenti, film industry insiders are currently working with a number of companies, including Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard to develop a secure system for delivering films to the internet.

"I really do believe that maybe by this time next year we'll be able to have the beginnings of some really sturdy, protective clothing to put about these movies," Valenti said.

Online movie piracy, while still a relatively small part of overall film piracy, is beginning to grow as internet connections become faster.


Many of this year's blockbusters, including The Matrix Reloaded and Hulk, were available before they were released in cinemas.

Studios have been experimenting with putting their films online legitimately.

One service, Movielink, allows users to download films for a fee - although most films are not made available until a few months after they have been in cinemas, and currently the service is only available in the US.

Although the film industry has no plans to sue web pirates, a new bill has been proposed by US senators which could see those responsible receiving jail sentences.

California Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein, who is sponsoring the bill with Texas Republican Senator John Cornyn, said there was "no legitimate purpose" for a person putting copyrighted material not legally available to the public online.

If the bill, which was proposed last week, becomes law, those found guilty may face up to five years in prison.

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