Hollywood studios sue online film service Zediva

Apr 05, 2011
The Motion Picture Association of America have filed a lawsuit charging Zediva.com with violating film copyrights by using a DVD rental "sham" to disguise what it argued is actually a video-on-demand Internet movie service.

Hollywood studios went to court to derail a startup that sidesteps paying film licensing fees by streaming movies online from "rented" DVD players.

The filed a lawsuit charging Zediva.com with violating film copyrights by using a DVD rental "sham" to disguise what it argued is actually a video-on-demand Internet movie service.

"Zediva's mischaracterization of itself is a gimmick it hopes will enable it to evade the law and stream movies in violation of the studios' exclusive rights," MPAA associate general counsel Dan Robbins said in a release.

"Courts have repeatedly seen through the facade of this type of copyright-avoidance scheme, and we are confident they will in this case too."

Film streaming services such as Amazon, iTunes, Xbox Live and Netflix pay to license movies streamed to online viewers, but Zediva reasons that it is exempt from that cost because it is essentially a remote DVD rental shop.

Zediva users pay to rent DVDs and players at the startup's data center and can watch the movies on their personal computers, Macintosh machines or TVs. Films can be routed from computers to large-screen televisions.

rented from Zediva can be viewed for as little as one or two dollars a piece.

The Sunnyvale, California-based firm was such an instant hit that its system crashed from the demand after the service officially launched on March 16.

The lawsuit goes on to specifically targets founder Venkatesh Srinivasan, charging that the former NASA scientist plays a "core, central role in Zediva's infringing activity."

MPAA lawyers are calling on a Los Angeles federal court to order Zediva to stop its online film service and pay $150,000 for every movie streamed.

Disney, Paramount, Warner Brothers and Twentieth Century Fox are among the MPAA members concerned.

Explore further: News Corp. to buy Move Inc. for about $950 million

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Zediva taps loophole, offers new movies online

Mar 16, 2011

A California startup is making new hit movies such as "The Fighter" available for instant viewing online through a loophole: It lets customers rent a DVD and a player that are actually located in the Silicon Valley.

Netflix adds to online movies with Relativity deal

Jul 06, 2010

(AP) -- Netflix Inc. is adding to the group of movies that its subscribers can watch online or over Internet-connected devices at the same time as they would have appeared on premium pay TV channels such as HBO or Showtime.

Amazon offers free online movies to Prime members

Feb 22, 2011

Online shoppers subscribing to Amazon.com's premium membership are getting a new entertainment feature that will allow them to watch movies over the Internet, just as they can through Netflix's rapidly growing ...

Recommended for you

Microsoft to tap $2-trillion Indian cloud market

1 hour ago

Microsoft announced plans Tuesday to offer its commercial cloud services from Indian data centres as it seeks to tap what it calls a $2-trillion market in the country where Internet use is growing rapidly.

Canada demands Google, Netflix data, sets deadline

6 hours ago

Canada's broadcast regulator on Monday gave American companies Google and Netflix a three-day deadline to turn over subscriber data or have their testimony expunged from a major public hearing, media reported.

User comments : 0