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April 4, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Paramount is playing ball with Google’s new online rental platform Google Play, despite the fact that its corporate parent, Viacom, is still pursuing a $1-billion claim against it. The deal licenses some 500 movies to Google, including such recent releases as Hugo and The Adventures of Tintin to classics such as The Godfather trilogy. It leaves only 20th Century Fox as the only major studio that has not signed a similar deal with Google. That Paramount was willing to join surprised several industry observers. Reporting on the deal, Daily Variety commented that “a deal with Par[amount] once seemed the most improbable Hollywood partnership of all for Google,” then noted, “Why Viacom was willing to finally make a deal for its content isn’t known.” Viacom claims that Google and its video-sharing property YouTube facilitate online piracy — a claim that was rejected by a U.S. district court judge in 2010, who ruled that Google is protected by the “safe harbor” provision of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Viacom is appealing the decision.