Warner Bros is to launch a new service that will allow users to legally download movies such as Batman Begins, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

The service will be initially launched in Germany, Austria and Switzerland via a Peer-to-Peer network service.

Called In2Movies, it will be the first P2P-based download-to-own platform to offer consumers legitimate content day-and-date with the German language DVD release. With the initial rollout, consumers will be able to download movies and television shows to their personal computers.

The second version of the service will expand on consumers' download options and enable them to download programs to DVD recorders and other portable devices.

"One of the most effective weapons for defeating online piracy is providing legal, easy to use alternatives", said Kevin Tsujihara, President, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group.

In2Movies is intended to launch in March 2006 and will initially feature more than 80 Warner Bros new releases including "Batman Begins", "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory", "Must Love Dogs", "The OC", "Friends", "The Little Polar Bear - The Mysterious Island" and "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire".

According to GfK figures in the first half of of 2005, 1.7 million internet users illegally downloaded a total of 11.9 million movies in Germany.

Research has shown that 20% of illegal downloaders do so on a weekly basis.

However, 73% of all illegal downloaders in Germany are interested in utilizing a "paid for" movie download service.