Disney has joined forces with Microsoft to start selling its movies over the net later this year.
Movies like Monsters Inc could soon be downloadable
The venerable animation studio has signed up to use Microsoft software to stop its films being pirated.
The deal reflects Microsoft desire to establish a foothold in the home entertainment market.
For its part, Disney sees the potential for selling movies via the net but it is also worried about the potential for its creations to be pirated once it makes them available for download.
Serve and protect
Disney has been looking at many different ways to get its films in front of people and last year announced that it was trialling disposable DVDs that stop working after a short period of time.
The deal with Microsoft will wrap the software giant's Digital Rights Management (DRM) system around the media being made available to stop it being illegally copied.
The system being developed should allow buyers of the Disney films a limited ability to move the movies between PCs and media players.
As well as selling the films via its own website Disney is planning to licence movies to third parties to create versions that can be viewed on portable media players.
It is not clear yet which Disney movies, short films or cartoons will be offered online.
The deal covers PCs running Windows XP, high-definition displays as well as portable media players that let people watch while they walk or travel.
In May 2003 Microsoft signed a similar deal with Time Warner to use the Microsoft DRM system on movies it was putting online.
The software giant has increasing emphasised its entertainment technology and building relations with Hollywood.
It wants the film studios to do more with software such as its Windows Media format for high-definition pictures.