MGM, Google in licensing pact

Deal covers 600 film titles

Google has reached a licensing deal with MGM for 600 film titles, continuing the tech giant’s renewed interest in stocking the virtual shelves of its recently revamped cross-platform storefront, Google Play.

As of last month, the search giant is putting new emphasis behind its amalgamation of Android Market, YouTube-based film rentals, Google Music and Google eBookstore under the umbrella brand of Google Play.

Titles covered under the deal include “Rocky,” “The Terminator” and “Robocop.”

The aim is to provide competition to similar yet more centralized offerings like Apple’s iTunes, as well as to consolidate features that were previously spread over several platforms.

Deal comes just a few weeks after Google came to terms with a more improbable partner: Paramount Pictures, which licensed 500 titles despite the long-standing legal standoff with parent company Viacom. A day later, this sign of detente was clarified with an appeals court ruling reactivating Viacom’s case againt YouTube, which had been dismissed last year by a lower court.

While MGM joins a roster of five major studios and 10 independent film firms, 20th Century Fox remains the only major studio that has yet to license pics to Google. News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch has been a very vocal critic of Google’s efforts to block links to pirated content via its search engine.

Pact isn’t the first for full-length movies between the two companies, which reached an earlier agreement covering a smaller cache of older films back in 2008.

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