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Zediva Fights Back Against MPAA 112

Posted by Soulskill
from the alleged-mistreatment-of-electrons dept.
MoldySpore writes "When Zediva burst onto the streaming scene earlier this year, they managed to do something nobody else was doing. Navigating around the copyright law, they found a way to stream rental movies not currently available on other services, because they were still inside the DVD sales window, and filled a role not currently part of the competitions' services. The service grants a 'rental' of the physical movie to the user, who is then able to stream it over the internet, usually with the option to re-rent after being played. By having it be a rental service, they were able to avoid some of the legalese associated with streaming movies outside of that sales window. Needless to say the MPAA was not pleased. But instead of making nice with the MPAA, Zediva has decided to fight back in the form of expensive legal heavy-hitters from 'elite San Francisco law firm Durie Tangri,' which has forced the MPAA to hire their own team of expensive legal ninjas. Zediva argues what most technologically informed people would when looking at this service: that they are essentially a rental service who are renting physical media, and providing the DVD player and a very long cable to the renter's TV."
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Zediva Fights Back Against MPAA

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  • by elucido (870205) * on Friday May 13, 2011 @05:59PM (#36122646)

    The MPAA wants to control the entertainment sphere of the world. They don't want competition from newer more modern companies, so they use the law to guarantee no competition can exist. They don't want the "customer" to have control, they want it so they can maximize profits for themselves.

    They just don't care about us the consumer. And they hate the competition. So they win by using the law because they can't win in the market place.

  • by appleguru (1030562) on Friday May 13, 2011 @06:05PM (#36122700) Homepage Journal

    Glad to hear they're fighting back. In my opinion, they have a good chance of winning, even taking into account existing precedence.

    ...Pardon the shameless plug, but I wrote up a good summary of the issues, existing case law, and how Zediva differs on my blog here:

    http://appleguru.org/blog/2011/04/05/zediva-movie-studios-and-copyright/ [appleguru.org]

  • by gman003 (1693318) on Friday May 13, 2011 @06:31PM (#36122870)
    Or - bear with me for a moment - we could abolish the ridiculous concept that media is somehow different depending on how you access it (and should thus priced, released and controlled differently) and realize that it's the same legal object, whether it's played in a theater, bought on DVD, bought on pay-per-view, watched on broadcast TV, downloaded, or streamed.

    Seriously, when you think about it, the entire concept is ridiculous. The whole system is preposterous. Staggered release by region. Staggered release by medium. Street dates. Pre-screenings. No-resale clauses. It's all patently absurd.
  • by bzipitidoo (647217) <bzipitidoo@yahoo.com> on Friday May 13, 2011 @08:52PM (#36123768) Journal

    Why should you be allowed to, essentially, distribute a copy of a work when you don't have the permission to do so?

    Why not? Why should anyone need any permission to do that? We can borrow recordings from public libraries. We can invite our friends over to watch. Why shouldn't we be able to do the same thing over the Internet?

    we have to have some control over the media we create

    No, we don't.

    else the term "profit" will mean almost nothing.

    Of course I knew that's what you were getting at. There are ways to profit from artistic endeavor without copyright, without any control whatsoever over what people do with works of art. The way you talk, you'd think copyright is the only way anyone can make art without starving. Not so!

    And there's really no choice. We'll have to move to a different business model. Neither legal nor technical methods can enforce restrictions on the ability to make copies. Declaring that everyone may be a pirate, and suing us by the thousands, has been an abysmal failure. DRM is a stupid joke.

    You ought to be thankful the universe doesn't work the way the entertainment cartels evidently wish it to, for if it did, we'd all be much poorer.

  • by brit74 (831798) on Friday May 13, 2011 @09:06PM (#36123834)
    (Sigh) As much as I hate defending the MPAA because they do want to extend copyright as far as they can, it doesn't mean they're guilty of everything.

    The MPAA wants to control the entertainment sphere of the world.
    No, they're fighting to control the content they created. No need to exaggerate.

    They don't want competition from newer more modern companies, so they use the law to guarantee no competition can exist.
    No company wants competition to exist, but what's going on here has nothing to do with driving out competition. Anyone can create a movie production company.

    They don't want the "customer" to have control, they want it so they can maximize profits for themselves.
    Yes, companies want to maximize profits (what company doesn't?), and, yes, there are many cases where we don't want them / shouldn't let them maximize profits in certain ways (for example, we broke up the movie company / movie theater monopoly because it worked to block any competition). Personally, I always thought the movie rental business was always really weird. Apparently, they can buy one copy of a movie and rent it as many times as they want. With this new "rental" business, I can see why movie companies would (legitimately) have a problem with this business model - it's a super efficient way of renting movies that would allow movie-rental companies to rent a single movie a dozen times a day. But, then, I can see why movie companies have a problem with the traditional movie-rental business, so I don't know.

    Anyway, my main point is that the MPAA might hate competition, but they have zero control over what other people or companies create. They're only fighting to have control over the stuff they themselves created. No need to exaggerate, as if the MPAA owns all movies created everywhere by anyone.

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