Peer-to-peer innovator BitTorrent is to strike a deal with media companies enabling them to use its software to distribute TV and movie content to the masses.

BitTorrent has emerged in the last three years as the quickest and most efficient way of distributing large files between many users at the same time.

It's also currently the method of choice for illegal downloaders all over the world, but BitTorrent is eager to go legit.

BitTorrent is scheduled to launch a new video download store in February, which will legally distribute content from Hollywood studios such as Lionsgate, 20th Century Fox and Paramount.

General manager of consumer services at BitTorrent, Eric Patterson, said: "We come to the table with a solution to piracy. Millions of people are using BitTorrent to download content both legally and illegally.

We know from our research that 30 per cent of that audience will pay for content. We're going to help the studios turn an enormous problem into a viable sales channel." James Rivington