Apple signs movie rental, DVD deal with Fox

Apple has signed a deal with 20th Century Fox to offer digital rentals of the studio’s films, and to include a FairPlay DRM’d, iPod-compatible digital file on the studio’s new DVD releases, according to a Financial Times report. Citing a person familiar with the situation, the report says only that the rented movies would be active “for a limited time,” and that they would be made available through iTunes. The launch of iPod-ready films on DVD would signal the first appearance of Apple’s FairPlay DRM outside of its own products, and could “help Apple sell a load more video iPods,” according to one studio exec. “Fox and potentially other studios are coming around to the idea that there is nobody out there to challenge iTunes,” said Jonathan Weitz, a principal with IBB Consulting. “This deal is a sign that media mobility is coming to the mainstream.” In addition, the report also states that Apple has been in talks with Sony Pictures, Paramount, and Warner Bros. about making their new releases available on iTunes to buy and rent, and about adding FairPlay-laden copies of their films to new DVD releases.

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