YouTube might begin charging for movies

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YouTube could begin offering movies for rent.

It would mark the first time the world’s most popular video site would charge its users.

The Wall Steet Journal is reporting that YouTube, which is owned by Internet search giant Google Inc, has held discussions with Lions Gate Entertainment Corp, Sony Pictures, a unit of Sony Corp, and Time Warner Inc’s Warner Brothers about online movie rentals.

In many cases, the movies would be available for rental for a fee in a system similar to Web rental programs from Apple Inc’s iTunes, Netflix and Amazon with newer movies. YouTube would likely charge a similar fee around $3.99 a rental.

YouTube, which is the world’s No.1 video website, currently offers video for free, on an advertising-supported basis.