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Zediva Shut Down By Federal Judge, MPAA Parties! 189

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the did-not-see-that-coming dept.
AlienIntelligence writes "Looks like the loophole that Zediva founded their business model on evaporated. Zediva's biggest problem was getting over a 1991 ruling against a similar method of transmitting copyright works. Zediva has vowed to appeal the ruling."
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Zediva Shut Down By Federal Judge, MPAA Parties!

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  • by elrous0 (869638) * on Tuesday August 02, 2011 @03:38PM (#36963742)

    He who gives gold to Congressional and Presidential election campaigns makes the rules.

    And $111 million [opensecrets.org] is a lot of gold.

    • by EvilStein (414640) <spam@@@pbp...net> on Tuesday August 02, 2011 @04:00PM (#36964096) Homepage

      it is.. but it sure helped get a bunch of former RIAA lawyers (five so far) elected to positions in the Obama Administration...

  • Dumb ruling (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bigsexyjoe (581721) on Tuesday August 02, 2011 @03:44PM (#36963824)
    It is common to ignore the letter of the law in favor of the "spirit" of the law. And the spirit of copyright law is protection of the movie industry against all little people and all disruptive technology.
  • so... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by The Dawn Of Time (2115350) on Tuesday August 02, 2011 @03:47PM (#36963874)

    Twenty years ago, it was decided this wasn't legal. They decided to do it anyway and were shut down. This somehow makes content owners evil.

    Do I have the facts straight?

    • No, the content owners are evil independent of whether or not another company is skirting the laws (the ones the content owners have bent themselves.)
    • No, you don't.
  • Anyone who builds a business based on a loophole in the law really shouldn't quit their day job.

    • Seems to me if you work in banking, the only reason to stop exploiting loopholes is when you're tired of having too much money. That and morals.
  • What Zediva Does... (Score:4, Informative)

    by SlashdotOgre (739181) on Tuesday August 02, 2011 @03:55PM (#36964012) Journal

    For folks who've never heard of Zediva, they apparently let customers stream newly released movies. Their business model was that the customers rent the DVD and DVD player which are both located at their facility, and the customers access them over the Internet. Clever approach, but this shutdown should be of no surprise.

    • by sorak (246725)

      For folks who've never heard of Zediva, they apparently let customers stream newly released movies. Their business model was that the customers rent the DVD and DVD player which are both located at their facility, and the customers access them over the Internet. Clever approach, but this shutdown should be of no surprise.

      I skimmed TFA, but does this mean that their business model was nothing more than "standard video rental" on the internet with artificial restrictions in place to prevent one real copy from being distributed to more than one person at a time?

  • Like some many times before they forgot its not about the letter of the law, but rather the spirit most of the time. HINT if you think you have found some CLEVER exploit in the law, its only really clever if you have at least as many highly paid lawyers as whoever what ever it is that your doing is going to annoy.

    • by sjames (1099)

      Really, they are within the actual spirit of the law as well. Video rental is intentionally legal. The only thing they violate is the will of the MPAA and their hired lapdogs.

    • When the corporations wants you to stop renting movies, they go with the spirit of the law instead of the letter. When "fair use" says you can copy a DVD but the corporations want the DMCA to stop you, they go with the letter of the law instead of the spirit. Whether they go with the spirit or the letter depends on which one makes you lose and the corporations win.
  • Why is what Zediva does any different than Slingbox? (Individuals rent DVDs and view remotely).
    Slingbox exactly allows for this, along with remote cable TV viewing as well. So Zediva is nothing more than renting the use of a Slingbox setup, including the DVD rental.

    • by Kenja (541830)
      Zedivia rebroadcasts content for commercial purposes. True its a very limited broadcast, but I can sort of see the reasoning behind the judgement.
      • by h4rr4r (612664)

        So then, if I rent a DVD and stream it to my phone from my desktop that is illegal as well?

        • by Kenja (541830)
          If you charge people money for it, then yes I could see how that would be deemed illegal.
        • by jandrese (485)
          Yep. Precedent was set with the mp3.com case, where people uploaded their own music to the service and streamed it back to their mobile device. Was shut down right quick once the lawyers got involved.
          • by rworne (538610)

            Actually, mp3.com ripped a load of commercial CD's and kept them on a server. The subscriber would place a commercial CD into their computer, which would fingerprint it to verify ownership and allow the user to stream/download the pre-ripped mp3's (it's been a while, I forgot which one they did).

            They lost, because while it was fair use for the end user to rip their own CD themselves, it was somehow a copyright violation to have/hire a 3rd party do it for them.

      • by spazdor (902907)

        I also "rebroadcast" content from my DVD player to my TV using an HDMI cable. Just saying.

      • No. Zediva does not broadcast. Broadcasting only occurs when there are multiple receivers. Zediva unicasts.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Nothing about the ruling in On Command was binding on this court, so I'm not sure why everyone thinks the argument was ridiculous. I think it's absurd to construe the prohibition against transmitting copyrighted acts to "the public" as encompassing this activity. How is someone sitting at home on their computer "the public"? It is clear that Congress intended, by this phrase, to prohibit transmitting of copyrighted works to the public at large, not to individual people for individual use.

    It's legal to rent

  • And how is this not the same as cable VOD? ppv? push PPV / VOD?

    Most cable and satellite systems have PPV and or some kind of VOD system. Does it have to do the fees they pay and the higher cost? In the past some cable systems pushed out VOD in clear QAM.

    • by mattack2 (1165421)

      And how is this not the same as cable VOD? ppv? push PPV / VOD?

      Those are done with the consent of the copyright owners, through contracts.

  • by kandresen (712861) on Tuesday August 02, 2011 @04:20PM (#36964374)

    1) You are renting a video player which is located in the store and provide exclusive access to you while renting through an encrypted virtual interface
    2) You are separately renting a movie
    3) You ask as delivery method that someone is placing your rented movie inside your rented dvd player
    4) You connect the rented player to your display unit
    5) You see the movie

    Streaming was done by you from your equipment to your equipment. The streaming can in this case not be said to be done by the store, as it is solely initiated by the client from his own rented player with his own rented physical media. I don't see how this can be illegal. Maybe I did not understand it right, and they don't rent the player out separate from the movie? In that case there might be problems...

    • 1) You are in away renting a HD or SD slot / bandwidth for the movie.
      2) You then rent a movie from a list
      3) a QAM slot on the cable system is opened from the movie sever at the head end to your local node and then to the cable box.
      4) The movie starts up and you have control of that movie for X time.

      Now is seems to be about the same the with the DVD players being the movie sever and then there being a data link from them to your local player.

      • by kandresen (712861)

        Last time I checked, If I rent a web server and I create streaming content on it, then it is me and not my hosting service that create the streaming content.

        If I now rent a dvd player with SSH or HTTP / SSL connection and I log into my rented box and flip the switch to start a stream, who is it that now create the stream? My service provider or me?

        Notice that there is already several DVD players on the market that allows you to output the movie to your TV using Wifi and streaming:
        (Example: http://www.amazon [amazon.com]

  • on the point of a needle.

    Only the MPAA version is: Can the same "work" (whatever that means) be present in multiple places at the same time?
  • "transmitting"? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ZorinLynx (31751) on Tuesday August 02, 2011 @04:33PM (#36964538) Homepage

    How is "transmitting" the video over the Internet any different than "transmitting" it over an HDMI cable from a local DVD player to a television? In both cases, bits are being moved, and only one person has access to them.

    I hate how convoluted copyright law has become.

    • How is "transmitting" the video over the Internet any different than "transmitting" it over an HDMI cable from a local DVD player to a television?

      Because in the former case, "a substantial number of persons outside of a normal circle of a family and its social acquaintances" potentially have access to it.

  • by BcNexus (826974) on Tuesday August 02, 2011 @04:38PM (#36964592)
    Judge went above and beyond in the scope of his/her ruling so far that he/she is blindly favoring the MPAA:

    The 12-page injunction took issue with nearly every argument Zediva made in its defense, and even went further, arguing that since Zediva's users could occasionally encounter movies that were "out of stock," consumers would be confused about how streaming video services work, potentially ruining the market for Hollywood.

    Oddly, Martin also argued that Zediva's service, which charges per movie, could cause "confusion or doubt regarding whether payment is required for access to the Copyrighted Works."

  • This is pretty shocking. I hope very much that they get it reversed.

  • So does this mean that slingbox is illegal? Or that it is illegal to watch a movie that you own via slingbox?

  • Public Performance (Score:3, Informative)

    by Translation Error (1176675) on Tuesday August 02, 2011 @04:54PM (#36964782)
    A lot of people seem confused about exactly what the court found wrong with Zediva's actions.
    It wasn't that they were streaming one disc to multiple people at once (they weren't).
    It wasn't that they were renting discs to people.
    It wasn't because they were streaming the content of discs they'd purchased.

    It was that Zediva was playing movies for other people (and taking money for it) without having the public performance rights to do so. This is the same principle that stops someone from opening a movie theatre and just buying a DVD of each movie they want to show. The 1991 case said a hotel can't get around that by having a bunch of VCRs and sending the output of each to a single hotel room, and the judge for the Zediva case found this to be no different. And he's right.

    • by spazdor (902907)

      Translation: the 1991 court ruling was absurd for the same reason this one is.

    • by smbell (974184)
      That's pretty much what the judge said, however his logic is highly suspect. In order to say it was a public performance he basically said because people are part of the public it is public. From the ruling.

      Customers watching one of Plaintiffs’ Copyrighted Works on their computer through Zediva’s system are not necessarily watching it in a “public place,” but those customers are nonetheless members of “the public.” .... The non-public nature of the place of the performan

      • That's almost what it sounds like, and seeing as thats illegal, I think it just made my entire media library unviewable? Unless there are legal minds amongst us who can split the hairs and tell us the difference?
      • by Ost99 (101831)

        He's basing it on the transmission part (2).
        His definition of "the public" found in section 2 is what's causing the trouble.
        I can't find any valid reference or definition were "to one specific person" is equivalent with "to the public".

        To perform or display a work "publicly" means -
        (1) to perform or display it at a place open to the public or
        at any place where a substantial number of persons outside of a
        normal circle of a family and its social acquaintances is
        gathered; or
        (2) to transmit or otherwise communicate a performance or
        display of the work to a place specified by clause (1) or to
        the public, by means of any device or process, whether the
        members of the public capable of receiving the performance or
        display receive it in the same place or in separate places and
        at the same time or at different times.

    • it may be no different but does it make it right?

      suppose you have a hotel next door to a blockbuster or near by and the hotel provides dvd players in its rooms a customer asks the night manager if they can nip next door and get a dvd of a particular movie , the night manager fetches the dvd from the blockbuster next door and gives the dvd to the customer in his room. Later the dvd is returned to the night manager who takes it back to blockbuster.

      Or perhaps a person staying at the hotel gets a taxi driver to

    • by Ost99 (101831)

      An easy and quick fix for this is to create two companies.
      One is a co-op, where all renters pay $10 to be co-owners. They now own 1/xxth of a time-share DVD player. This should not be run as a for profit business, but as a true co-op. The $10 is returned to you if you ever decide to quit the co-op.

      Another (unrelated) company provides services to your time-shared DVD player, by providing you with disks to play in your own player. This is a for profit company, renting out discs.

      Now you're the one transmitting

    • by BillX (307153)

      How does the Zediva case substantially differ from Cartoon Network vs. Cablevision [wikipedia.org], in which a very similar "hosted DVR" scheme was ruled lawful on all counts? (i.e. automated copies and multiple "buffer contents" copies noninfringing, transmission to the renting user not public performance)?

  • Well they can't beat cable and satellite before DVD release to ppv. I was able to see Source Code 2-3 weeks before DVD on Directv push VOD in 1080p Same price as other new VOD / ppv movies and it was push out to the DRV box ready to view.

    Directv also has download VOD / PPV and right now 36 PPV HD channels + more SD ones. The PPV HD bandwidth does get used for stuff like RSN HD over flows and NFL ST bandwidth. But more on Zediva if Direct can push PPV movies in at least 3 different ways then Zediva has got t

  • Whether or not this ruling was fair isn't the point, they can't keep up with the business anyways and would have to make a deal at some point with the distributors.

    It's the standard Redbox problem. Redbox was sending their workers out on the day that a new DVD came out and then buying up all they could. They would then label them (barcode and case) and then put them into their machines. Then they can rent them legally as they see fit. However, once the distributors realized what was happening, they ma
    • by Whorhay (1319089)

      What's funny to me about that is that it actually worked with Redbox. I live in a small city, pop 350k or so, and we have 1 Sam's, 1 Costco, 4 (freaking four) Walmarts, 1 Target, and 1 Best Buy. Those are the major retailers that I can think of off the top of my head, that's 40 discs in a couple hours easy per buyer per trip to the store. Are they really putting 40 of any one disc into a Redbox machine?

  • You know, I would really REALLY love to see a video subscription service that specializes in non-MPAA movies and shows. I know I would subscribe to it out of principle alone. It could become like YouTube on steroids. And there could be lots of content... even historical and reference content. Schools could literally create their own documentaries to publish on such a service. Maybe since I am having the idea, it's not a good one since I rarely come up with good ideas... and if it is good, someone else

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