US internet movie distributor SightSound has laid off 18 of its 30 employees - the victim, it claims, of the go-slow attitude toward web-based commerce amongst its prospective content suppliers in the film and music business.

SightSound offers downloads of film, television and music content via the web and has distribution deals with Miramax Pictures and US cable network Comedy Central.

In a statement, the company said "For the last ten years, the major motion picture studios and the major record labels have maintained an unnatural prohibition with their content on the Internet. And it is their unwillingness to utilize this new and useful way to distribute movies and music that has forced SightSound Technologies to where it is today."

The statement said SightSound "will continue to focus on the operation of its secure electronic movie and music distribution system and the company's portfolio of patents." The company declined to make further comment,