YouTube Rental 'beta' launches this Friday

In the official YouTube blog today, the popular Google-owned video sharing service announced it will be launching a streaming rental service on Friday in partnership with the Sundance Film Festival.

It will only include a handful of movies (five from Sundance 2009-2010, and "a small collection" from other US partners across different industries) that will be available to rent until Sunday, January 31.

"Making content available for rent will give our partners unprecedented control over the distribution of their work -- they can decide the price of their videos and the rental duration; they can decide when and where their content is available; and they can keep 100% of their rights," the YouTube team blog said today.

In order to rent these movies, users must first have a Google Checkout account set up. More information will be released on Friday when the pilot rental program launches.

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