Tag Archives | Zediva

Zediva’s Streaming Video Loophole Closed By Judge

If you’ve been waiting for an invite to Zediva’s cut-rate streaming video service, it might be time to give up. A federal judge has granted a preliminary injunction against Zediva on grounds of copyright infringement, which should lead to the site’s closure in about one week, CNet’s Greg Sandoval reports.

Zediva launched out of beta last March, with streaming rentals of new releases for $2 per night, or $10 for a 10-pack. It offered new movies before they became available through Netflix and Redbox, and didn’t pay a dime to movie studios. The trick was to let each individual user rent an entire DVD player, along with the disc inside, remotely over the Internet. Zediva argued that it was just like a brick-and-mortar rental store, but with a different delivery method.

Not surprisingly, movie studios disagreed. The Motion Picture Association of America sued Zediva and argued that the service’s rentals were actually performances, entitling studios to licensing fees. U.S. District Judge John Walter concurred, and has given Zediva and the MPAA a week to work out the wording of an injunction.

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Zediva Defends Its Zany Movie Service With Big-Shot Lawyers

Zediva’s streaming movie service may seem too good to be true, but its legal battle with the movie industry will be no joke.

To defend itself from the Motion Picture Association of America, Zediva has retained a trio of laywers from Durie Tangri, a high-profile intellectual property law firm. The team includes Michael Page, who defended music-sharing service Grokster through to its loss in the Supreme Court; Joe Gratz, who won a case that allowed consumers to sell promotional CDs; and Mark Lemley, a Stanford University professor and IP expert.

The Motion Picture Association of America is bringing its own heavyweights from the law firm Munger, Tolles & Olson. The team played a role in bringing down the music-sharing service Limewire, killing the music search engine Seeqpod and nixing RealNetworks’ RealDVD copying software. As PaidContent’s Joe Mullin puts it, this will be “quite the legal battle.”

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The Movie Studios Think Zediva is Illegal. Shocking!

Last month, Jared wrote about Zediva, an online movie rental service with an absurd technological approach: Its founders have banks of DVD players and stream individual DVDs across the net at $1 a pop–including movies that are out on DVD but not otherwise available in any even theoretically legal form.

Shortly after Zediva launched, it discovered it hadn’t built enough infrastructure to handle the demand, and stopped accepting new members. Now it has a worse problem: The Motion Picture Association of America is suing the company on behalf of the major studios, saying that it’s illegally distributing movies. Oddly, the MPAA doesn’t appear to agree with Zediva’s “Hey, we’re just renting a DVD, like Blockbuster–we just happen to be doing it over the Internet!” theory.

I suspect that Zediva’s improbable technological approach would have done the company in sooner or later no matter what. But with the studios ganging up against it, now I’m wondering whether it’ll ever get fully up and running in the first place.

 


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Zediva’s Fast Failure

On Wednesday, Jared wrote about Zediva, a new movie-streaming service that offers new releases for cheap–by streaming them onto the Internet from banks of DVD players, without the permission or cooperation of the companies that own the content. He was worried it could turn out to be “another workaround that doesn’t quite work.”

Bingo! Or at least that’s the way it looks at the moment. The site went down, due to technical glitches that the company’s Twitter feed appears to blame at least in part on a mention on the Yahoo home page. (Being reviewed–pretty favorably–by David Pogue in his New York Times column probably didn’t help, either.) Then it came back up, but with a note explaining that the best prospective new members could do was to join a waitlist.

Now, some of my favorite Web sites and services have been crushed by unexpected demand upon launch. It’s practically a rite of passage. (Many come back up swiftly, and work just fine from then on–which always leaves me wondering, why couldn’t their proprietors provide sufficient infrastructure in the first place?) So it’s possible that Zediva will bounce back.

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