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Zediva Shut Down By Federal Judge, MPAA Parties!

Unknown Lamer posted more than 3 years ago | from the did-not-see-that-coming dept.

Media 189

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 clearly forgot the Golden Rule (5, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 3 years ago | (#36963742)

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

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

Re:Zediva clearly forgot the Golden Rule (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36963954)

What does that have do with anything? This hasn't EVER been legal and they had no leg to stand on especially in light of 20 year old precedent.

Re:Zediva clearly forgot the Golden Rule (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36964066)

What about the Cablevision precedent? Do you count one as golden and ignore the other?

Re:Zediva clearly forgot the Golden Rule (2)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 3 years ago | (#36964130)

I don't know anything about the 1991 law, being unable to access the article at this time, but is it maybe:

-MPAA et al pay lawmakers a lot of money
-Lawmakers make laws that favor the MPAA etc
-Zediva's plan is illegal by those laws
-MPAA continues to give lawmakers money to make laws that keep all the control in the MPAA's hands.

Seems very relevant to me.

Re:Zediva clearly forgot the Golden Rule (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36965348)

A nerd who thought he was being oh-so-clever with a legal loophole that didn't really exist got told he was wrong. Nerds hate being told they are wrong. This goes against their fundamental belief that they're always right in all topics, on account of how smart they are with computers. Ergo, it cannot be that nerd's fault he was wrong. After all, computers were involved.

Therefore, this must be a global conspiracy where all the governments of the world are conspiring against him. This is obvious, as governments are big and he is small, therefore they're against him. Final conclusion: The nerd was right all along (about computers, no less!), it's some big faceless power that hates him, and now major brooding shall commence.

Now, you may wonder about the 20-year-old precedent. The nerd thought of this, too, and took the only logical recourse: Ignore it entirely. After all, if this were taken into account after he came up with his legal loophole, that would be tantamount to admitting to himself that he was wrong, wouldn't it? As that would involve someone (himself) telling him he is wrong, the precedent must be at fault.

Re:Zediva clearly forgot the Golden Rule (5, Interesting)

EvilStein (414640) | more than 3 years ago | (#36964096)

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

Re:Zediva clearly forgot the Golden Rule (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36965124)

a bunch of former RIAA lawyers (five so far) elected to positions in the Obama Administration...

You mean "appointed and confirmed" to positions in the Obama Administration.

Re:Zediva clearly forgot the Golden Rule (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36965138)

You mean selected to positions.

Re:Zediva clearly forgot the Golden Rule (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36964324)

What a stupid ruling once again giving power to the megacorps so they can dictate how you use your own property. It'll kill them in the long run of course as more and more people switch to BitTorrent and the like to get illegally that which cannot be obtained legally.

'scuse me while I go add a few titles to my torrentflux download list, to reduce my frustration level.

Dumb ruling (4, Insightful)

bigsexyjoe (581721) | more than 3 years ago | (#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.

Re:Dumb ruling (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36964084)

Of COURSE it is common to bend toward the spirit of the law. It is impossible to explicitly define every possible permutation of a problematic situation that the government wants to 'discourage' with the law. The spirit of the copyright law is to keep money flowing to the people who own copyrightable works, ass.

Re:Dumb ruling (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36964136)

Activist judge! Activist judge! Legislating from the bench!

Oh wait, they found in favor of the larger corporation? Great job pal! - Your friends, the Tea Party.

Re:Dumb ruling (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36964544)

As a strong Tea Party supporter, I am appalled at this judges decision.
It has been well established that the RIAA/MPAA is supported by the left, while other (ie not artsy) big business is supported by the right.
 

Re:Dumb ruling (2)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | more than 3 years ago | (#36965704)

No, I don't think so. There's no support for them directly, it's just coinciding interests.

I'm a liberal, and I'm firmly in support of free speech. While it's true that there are some people on the left who have problems outside of their comfort zones (e.g. violent video games, explicit song lyrics, pornography as demeaning and oppressive toward women), there are plenty of us who think that the "no" in "Congress shall make no law" is important.

This general position results in supporting publishers against those who would censor them, but it's not because leftists like the publishers or even the works (the record and movie industries are full of slimy people, business practices that run from bad to unethical and often illegal, and output that's trashy or distasteful to say the least), but because leftists dislike censorship.

And since there's not too much that's objectionable about those industries other than the content that they produce -- they're not really known for destroying the environment, or needing dictatorships propped up, or needing billions in tax dollars to build useless military hardware, they're treated as being relatively (though not wholly) benign.

The industry itself has plenty of liberals and plenty of conservatives, and plenty of lobbyists who will seek to garner support from any legislators they can without being ideologically picky, just as you'd expect from any large number of people in a major industry. For example, look at all the fights that the publishers get into with unions.

Re:Dumb ruling (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36964812)

The spirit of the copyright law is to keep money flowing to the people who own copyrightable works, ass.

How did Zediva plan on getting around sending money to the people who own the copyrightable DVDs they buy?

so... (3, Insightful)

The Dawn Of Time (2115350) | more than 3 years ago | (#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?

Re:so... (1)

TehNoobTrumpet (1836716) | more than 3 years ago | (#36963944)

If it wasn't right 20 years ago, what makes it right now?

Re:so... (5, Interesting)

sjames (1099) | more than 3 years ago | (#36964746)

It's an odd situation in general. Rent DVD from blockbuster, take it home and play it = legal.

Rent DVD player and DVD from blockbuster, hook up to your TV and play it = legal.

Leave DVD player at blockbuster but run really long video cable to your TV is untested, but the length of the video cable doesn't seen legally relevant (even if it is a technical problem).

Now, treading ever further into untested waters, same setup but you just call Blockbuster and rent the DVD and get an employee to play it in the DVD player you left there.

Next up, multiplex the video cable with other communications. Still doesn't seem relevant. Video cables that include ethernet channels aren't illegal.

Rent the common multiplexed communications cable from someone else. Why not, you're renting the player and the DVD, why not the cable?

Now, connect a digitizer at your end and watch on the computer. Shouldn't matter, it's not illegal to do that on a home theater.

Finally, move the digitizer to blockbuster's side of the rented multiplexed communications cable. Fundamentally, you're still renting a DVD and a player from Blockbuster and watching it at home, but somehow it has magically become illegal according to the judge. What part makes it illegal now? Is it legal as long as you burn a gallon of gas in the back yard so you can do your part in the pollution effort?

Re:so... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36964954)

The word you are trying to avoid using is 'transmission', which is prohibited under copyright law.

Re:so... (2)

Whorhay (1319089) | more than 3 years ago | (#36965086)

When the law was written I'm fairly certain it was intended to mean transmission to multiple people, and probably over the air or some such multicast method.

What Zediva is doing is no different than plugging a DvD player up to your computer or TV directly in your own home. The DvD player is "transmitting" over a wire, the length of that wire and where it leads so long as the signal is only going to one customer should not be legally relevant. Hell you could even plug your DvD player at home up to multiple TV's in every room of your home, that's not illegal that I am aware of.

Hopefully Zediva will win the case at large even if they lose on this temporary injuntion. Some where along the line some court should manage to acurately interpret the law instead of acting as a MPAA shill.

Re:so... (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 3 years ago | (#36965240)

That's a continuum fallacy [wikipedia.org] . There's a very clear difference between your HDMI cable and the internet.

Re:so... (2)

ObiWanKenblowme (718510) | more than 3 years ago | (#36965414)

Assuming the setup is such that whomever pays to rent the movie is the only one who can view it, and there's only one stream per purchased disc at a time, then honestly what is the clear difference between your HDMI cable and the internet? Both are simply a medium for moving the stored bits of data that make up the movie from wherever they're stored to wherever they're decoded and played on a screen. The only difference is that the internet is arguably more convenient.

I also fail to see how this would count as "public transmission", since only the subscriber has access (i.e., it's not being "broadcast" and freely available).

Re:so... (1)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | more than 3 years ago | (#36965386)

When the law was written I'm fairly certain it was intended to mean transmission to multiple people, and probably over the air or some such multicast method.

Well, here's what it says:

To âoetransmitâ a performance or display is to communicate it by any device or process whereby images or sounds are received beyond the place from which they are sent.

No suggestion either way as to the number of people, so on its face it seems to include transmitting to only one person, and it is explicit that it includes any device or process, so it's not just over the air broadcasts.

where it leads so long as the signal is only going to one customer should not be legally relevant.

Maybe, but as things stand, where it leads is entirely relevant. You could probably argue that a DVD player in one room of a house, connected to a TV in another room are both in the same place (i.e. the house), but I think it's a stretch to say that the entire US or world only count as one place for this purpose.

Some where along the line some court should manage to acurately interpret the law instead of acting as a MPAA shill.

The copyright industry has been writing copyright laws for their own purposes for over a century, and it's been getting worse and worse over the last several decades. So don't be surprised that interpreting the law correctly yields MPAA-friendly outcomes; it's deliberately so.

Re:so... (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 3 years ago | (#36965180)

You mean transmission like this [google.com] ? I had no idea Amazon was such a scofflaw!

Re:so... (2)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 3 years ago | (#36963982)

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.)

Re:so... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36964312)

What is evil is how stupid the MPAA is being. What exactly is so bad about it being done over the internet instead of through the mail? Heck, people can rip mailed or rented DVDs. It's much harder to rip protected streaming content than it is to rip a DVD.

Re:so... (1)

WillyWanker (1502057) | more than 3 years ago | (#36965626)

No, you don't.

Who didn't see this coming?? (1)

Mad Leper (670146) | more than 3 years ago | (#36963916)

So Zediva thought they could purchase a single DVD and re-broadcast the content to multiple customers, essentially relying on a very loose interpretation of the first sale doctrine and avoid paying the same licensing fees as Netflix or Amazon.

If the MPAA didn’t take them to court, then Amazon or Netflix or Redbox, hell the entire legitimate broadcast industry would have.

Re:Who didn't see this coming?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36963974)

Um, RedBox purchases a single DVD and rents the content to multiple customers too. And they don't need a special license to do this.

Re:Who didn't see this coming?? (2)

HarrySquatter (1698416) | more than 3 years ago | (#36964030)

Yes, because that is an actual covered exception under the first sale doctrine. Streaming the movie over the Internet to people is on the other hand not a covered exception.

Re:Who didn't see this coming?? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36964184)

They are not streaming the movie over the internet. The customer is streaming the rented DVD over the internet to themself using equipment they've also rented.

If I want to stream MY DVD over the internet TO MYSELF, can the MPAA shut me down? They cannot, because that's format shifting, and it's fair use.

Re:Who didn't see this coming?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36964304)

Do you plan on informing the MPAA each time you do this? Use VLC on both ends and the ssh control server, works fine.

(Heh, captcha: "cynical")

Re:Who didn't see this coming?? (1)

alen (225700) | more than 3 years ago | (#36964350)

and the dvd and dvd player just happens to be in their data center and using their network hardware and management systems

Re:Who didn't see this coming?? (1)

Amouth (879122) | more than 3 years ago | (#36964820)

and the MPAA would be right to Sue Blockbuster if i went in and rented a DVD and a DVD Player and just sat there and watched it in their store?

Re:Who didn't see this coming?? (1)

iamwahoo2 (594922) | more than 3 years ago | (#36965804)

irrelevant. That is not illegal.

Re:Who didn't see this coming?? (1)

AdamsGuitar (1171413) | more than 3 years ago | (#36964402)

Er, no. The First Sale Doctrine is a limitation on the rights of the content producer. The idea is that the content producer loses control over how and to whom a particular (legal/licensed) copy of its work is sold after the first sale. In other words, you have the right to sell or give your own copy of a copyrighted work to anyone you please so long as what you're selling or giving is a legitimate, non-infringing copy. Unfortunately for us in the digital age, this is based upon a scarce resource economy, where the work is transferred as a physical object that is (by natural law) no longer in the possession of the seller once it's been given to the recipient. Since online distribution involves multiple "copies" (if it can be called that) as the network stream flows from device to device across the web, it's much more difficult to wrestle.

Re:Who didn't see this coming?? (1)

HarrySquatter (1698416) | more than 3 years ago | (#36964608)

Er, no. The First Sale Doctrine is a limitation on the rights of the content producer. The idea is that the content producer loses control over how and to whom a particular (legal/licensed) copy of its work is sold after the first sale. In other words, you have the right to sell or give your own copy of a copyrighted work to anyone you please so long as what you're selling or giving is a legitimate, non-infringing copy.

Yes, it is a limitation on their rights and as such makes legal certain activities, that could otherwise be called exceptions to copyright law, that otherwise would be violations of copyright. So basically you claim to disagree with me yet say the exact same thing I was just in different words.

Re:Who didn't see this coming?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36964242)

Slightly different situation, based on the limited reading I've done on this so far...

Redbox - Each purchased disc is being rented out, so that only one "customer" can view a given copy at a time. Also, given that Redbox often has delays between a DVD's release, and when they have it available to rent, I'm guessing that they buy their copies direct from the distributors, with everyone involved knowing that those copies will be rented rather than for private party purchase.

Zediva - It sounds like they were actually taking a single DVD copy, then broadcasting it (I'm assuming streaming online) to be viewed. In this case, many different customers could be taking advantage of a single copy at once. Remember all the fine print before a DVD, as well as on the back? A part of that, in most cases, prohibits "public performance" of the contents of the DVD. By purchasing a retail copy of a DVD, then rebroadcasting it, Zediva was breaking this part of the agreement.

Re:Who didn't see this coming?? (1)

AdamsGuitar (1171413) | more than 3 years ago | (#36964328)

No, Zediva's business model was that they would only stream on a 1:1 basis. According to their claims, every stream to every customer was directly from a DVD player reading its own disc. The differentiating issue is that Red Box's strategy involves a physical limitation, whereas there's too much "trust" in Zediva's approach. Not that this makes it right, but that's my understanding.

Re:Who didn't see this coming?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36964448)

Zediva - It sounds like they were actually taking a single DVD copy, then broadcasting it (I'm assuming streaming online) to be viewed. In this case, many different customers could be taking advantage of a single copy at once

No. They make it quite clear that only one "customer" can view a given copy of the DVD at a time. However, there's no time lost in shipping the DVD back and forth, so you can potentially rent out one copy to 6 different people in a 24 hour span.

Re:Who didn't see this coming?? (3, Informative)

wagnerrp (1305589) | more than 3 years ago | (#36964546)

No, not exactly. Their claim to legitimacy was that they purchased dozens of copies of each DVD, and thousands of DVD players paired to slingbox-type products. When the user rented the DVD, the DVD was loaded into a player, plugged into the internet streamer, and unicast to the subscriber. That DVD and DVD player were inaccessible to any other user during that time. It behaved just like a normal rental, except the subscriber did not have to physically go and pick up the DVD. The only real difference between this and a traditional rental service is the turnover rate per disc is much higher.

Re:Who didn't see this coming?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36964082)

I think that if they only had one copy of the movie they would only stream one copy of the movie at a time. And honestly to me that seems fair. I wouldn't consider streaming a movie to a single customer at a time to be a broadcast, and I think to be perfectly frank that allowing movie studios to shut down this sort of thing gives them too much control over how their content is played. What if I wanted to make a device that stored my entire DVD library in my basement, and could stream any of the DVDs to any TV in my house on demand? That should be legal, it's essentially just a fancy way of hooking up cables between your DVD player and TV. What if I then had the ability to connect to it through the internet with my laptop and play any movie I wanted?

Re:Who didn't see this coming?? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#36964190)

I pretty much have this. The HTPC in my living room has rips of every DVD I own. You can then stream these via vlc or copy them to any other machine in the house and watch them that way.

I guess I am breaking the law.

Re:Who didn't see this coming?? (1)

HarrySquatter (1698416) | more than 3 years ago | (#36964658)

I guess I am breaking the law.

Yes, if we ignore that your situation is not the same as what Zediva was doing, than yes, under your strawman you would be breaking the law. What you fail to point out is that you weren't selling a commercial service to rebroadcast licensed content to other people without a license to do so. You streaming a DVD to yourself on another TV is not the same thing.

Re:Who didn't see this coming?? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#36964722)

They rent the DVD, which gives them limited time ownership of it and they rent the player. Then this renter using his rented property streams the video from the disk to himself.

Considering both of use are using our property, his rented mine owned I fail to see how this is any different.

Re:Who didn't see this coming?? (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 3 years ago | (#36965474)

Only if you ignored factors like commercial distribution which separates your situation from Zediva. The distinction is more akin to PPV events. If you to pay to see a PPV boxing match, you pay a different amount if you are displaying it in your home or displaying it in your bar.

Re:Who didn't see this coming?? (4, Informative)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 3 years ago | (#36964192)

Except they don't rebroadcast to multiple customers at the same time. For each person watching the DVD at a time, Zediva has one copy and one DVD player. Its almost identical to renting the physical copy of the movie, but without actually sending them the disc itself. So its nothing like broadcasting, except it occurs at a distance.

Re:Who didn't see this coming?? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36964702)

So its nothing like broadcasting, except it occurs at a distance.

Did you read what you said there?

Re:Who didn't see this coming?? (1)

SighKoPath (956085) | more than 3 years ago | (#36964864)

Broadcasting implies that multiple people in multiple locations can view it simultaneously. What Zediva does is more like using the Internet as if it were an extremely long video and audio cable.

sigh (1)

spazdor (902907) | more than 3 years ago | (#36964960)

broadcast != unicast.

Re:Who didn't see this coming?? (4, Insightful)

EvilGrin5000 (951851) | more than 3 years ago | (#36964200)

from TFA:
"Only one person can rent a DVD at one time, meaning that if Zediva bought 20 copies of a movie, only 20 people can watch it simultaneously. Still, Zediva saves money because it could serve many more customers with the same physical copy of a DVD than a company that has to mail out a DVD and wait for its return. "

So they're not using a single DVD to broadcast to multiple people simultaneously; they are basically a renting organization that is very similar to RedBox except it is done through streaming and online purchasing but the limitation is still a 1:1 ratio of viewer-to-physical dvd copy. Ask yourself this: if Redbox has 20 copies of a movie and every day 20 people rent it and return it (some the same day, some after a day or two), how is this different than Zediva's business model other than the online factor vs. physical stand?

Re:Who didn't see this coming?? (2)

demonbug (309515) | more than 3 years ago | (#36964270)

So Zediva thought they could purchase a single DVD and re-broadcast the content to multiple customers, essentially relying on a very loose interpretation of the first sale doctrine and avoid paying the same licensing fees as Netflix or Amazon.

If the MPAA didn’t take them to court, then Amazon or Netflix or Redbox, hell the entire legitimate broadcast industry would have.

No. The person renting the video has exclusive use of the DVD (and DVD player) for the period of their rental, which would generally be about the length of the movie. Two people can't be watching the same movie at the same time unless Zediva purchased two copies of the video, just like a physical rental store. Except for the obvious savings because the rental period only lasts as long as the person is watching the video, and it is instantly "returned" when they are finished, it is no different in this respect than renting a physical disc from a brick-and-mortar.

Basically the same as Netflix video by mail, except instead of physically sending the discs through the mail all the discs are kept and played at a central location and only the output is streamed to the renter.

It appears that the judge in the case feels there is a clear-cut and legally established difference between renting the physical media and playing it in private, and renting the physical media in one location and broadcasting it to another, private location. Even though there is a physical disc dedicated to the person watching the video, the transmission of the video instead of the physical media makes it a public performance, and therefore requires a specific license agreement from the media's owner.

I do wonder if a similar argument could be used to upend the burgeoning cloud-based-player industry; on the one hand it seems like a similar theme, on the other the cloud-based player is only sending the the digital file that the seller is (presumably) licensed to distribute - there is no pesky original physical media that is supposed to be carted around, only the digital file.

Re:Who didn't see this coming?? (4, Insightful)

spazdor (902907) | more than 3 years ago | (#36964996)

Can we stop using the word "broadcast" to refer to long-distance, point-to-point communications, please? If we keep using these terms wrong, we shouldn't be surprised when judges arrive at absurd conclusions about laws which are concerned with "broadcasting".

Re:Who didn't see this coming?? (1)

airfoobar (1853132) | more than 3 years ago | (#36965844)

This ruling is based on an ancient ruling from the 80s. Clicky. [coolcopyright.com] The defendant in that case (a video rental shop) was basically running an unlicensed cinema by playing VHS tapes on request in the back of the shop. They were found to be making public performances because a) they were "open to the public", and b) because they were "transmitting" the video from VCRs in the front of the shop to the private rooms in the back.

Here's an interesting part that sounds very similar to Zediva:

The record clearly demonstrates that showcasing a video cassette at Maxwell's is a significantly different transaction than leasing a tape for home use. Maxwell's never disposed of the tapes in its showcasing operations, nor did the tapes ever leave the store. At all times, Maxwell's maintained physical dominion and control over the tapes. Its employees actually played the cassettes on its machines. The charges or fees received for viewing the cassettes at Maxwell's facilities are analytically indistinguishable from admission fees paid by patrons to gain adimission to any public theater. Plainly, [**16] in their showcasing operation, the appellants do not sell, rent, or otherwise dispose of the video cassette. On the facts presented, Maxwell's "showcasing" operation is a public performance, which, as a matter of law, constitutes a copyright infringement.

Even though the tapes were technically being rented, the court decided they weren't being rented. Of course, Zediva does actually rent the DVDs for home use, but the judge just went along with a simple and quick ruling identical to the previous one. It's a logically contorted and stupid ruling, but I think he knows the MPAA will come on top anyway, so he might as well hand it to them.

building on shifting sand (1)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 3 years ago | (#36963926)

Anyone who builds a business based on a loophole in the law really shouldn't quit their day job.

Re:building on shifting sand (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 3 years ago | (#36964020)

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... (4, Informative)

SlashdotOgre (739181) | more than 3 years ago | (#36964012)

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.

Re:What Zediva Does... (1)

sorak (246725) | more than 3 years ago | (#36964708)

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?

The Geek Problem (1)

DarkOx (621550) | more than 3 years ago | (#36964038)

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.

Re:The Geek Problem (2)

sjames (1099) | more than 3 years ago | (#36964924)

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.

Slingbox? (1)

neurocutie (677249) | more than 3 years ago | (#36964088)

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.

Re:Slingbox? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36964206)

There are some groups that would like Slingbox to be declared illegal, too. But, basically, because Slingbox sells you a box, which you hook up to your personal TV connection and personal internet connection, and then stream to your personal computer, or personal phone.

If Slingbox just hooked up boxes to Dish or Comcast or whoever, then rented you access to the feed, I suspect they'd be sued out of existence too.

Re:Slingbox? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36964290)

So Zediva just needs to send out placebo USB dongles? Good to know.

Re:Slingbox? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36964494)

So Zediva just needs to send out placebo USB dongles? Good to know.

Yep, that'd keep the company alive for roughly one more hour until someone did basic analysis on it to figure out it was a placebo and was designed solely to make a mockery of a legal decision. Then they get contempt-of-court punishments lumped on top of their current problems, as well as a judge who is considerably less likely to go easy on them in the next round of court proceedings, plus losses from the manufacture and distribution of their placebos. Brilliant!

Re:Slingbox? (1)

wagnerrp (1305589) | more than 3 years ago | (#36964640)

If Slingbox set up such a system, with one cable box per subscription, and one slingbox per cable box, forwarding the video output to only one endpoint at a time, they would be in violation of terms of service. They would have broken their service contract, and Dish or Comcast would be able to take whatever actions were detailed in the contract. However that is a completely different scenario. In that case, Dish or Comcast is providing a service and can simply rescind the service. In Zevida's case, they have purchased a product, and the movie studio no longer has any say over what happens to that product outside of copyright violation through duplication.

Re:Slingbox? (1)

Kenja (541830) | more than 3 years ago | (#36964286)

Zedivia rebroadcasts content for commercial purposes. True its a very limited broadcast, but I can sort of see the reasoning behind the judgement.

Re:Slingbox? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#36964346)

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

Re:Slingbox? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36964422)

Highly illegal. Haven't several people already been sued for a hundred million bajillion dollars in damages for doing this already?

Re:Slingbox? (1)

Kenja (541830) | more than 3 years ago | (#36964458)

If you charge people money for it, then yes I could see how that would be deemed illegal.

Re:Slingbox? (1)

jandrese (485) | more than 3 years ago | (#36964488)

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.

Re:Slingbox? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36964806)

Actually, mp3.com was a decade ahead of iCloud. They "scanned" your physical CD, and then rather than upload it, they marked you in their database as an owner of that CD. The problem was that they needed to maintain copies of all of these CDs/mp3s, and they were then streaming those.

Re:Slingbox? (1)

rworne (538610) | more than 3 years ago | (#36964836)

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.

Re:Slingbox? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36965570)

No, in the MP3.com case, a user uploaded hashes of their CDs, and MP3.com added a fresh copy of the given song to the user's library. MP3.com figured that was *equivalent* to having its users upload their own copies. The court disagreed.

The mechanism MP3.com used to verify the disc was very similar to the mechanism used by CDDB to identify the disc so it can look up the track data for you.

Re:Slingbox? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36964646)

No they don't. They re-unicast content.

Re:Slingbox? (1)

spazdor (902907) | more than 3 years ago | (#36965032)

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

Re:Slingbox? (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 3 years ago | (#36965698)

No. Zediva does not broadcast. Broadcasting only occurs when there are multiple receivers. Zediva unicasts.

No binding precedent (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36964156)

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 DVDs to people. It's legal to rent DVD players to people. It's legal to rent DVDs, DVD players and viewing space to people. But it's not legal to rent a DVD and DVD player to someone to use at a distance. That defies logic.

And how is this not the same as cable VOD? ppv? (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 3 years ago | (#36964352)

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.

Re:And how is this not the same as cable VOD? ppv? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36964540)

Someone else can confirm, but I'm guessing the cable companies undoubtedly pay licensing fees for the movies they stream on demand or pay-per-view.

Sound like it should be legal if: (2)

kandresen (712861) | more than 3 years ago | (#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...

well that sounds like cable VOD (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 3 years ago | (#36964932)

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.

Re:well that sounds like cable VOD (1)

kandresen (712861) | more than 3 years ago | (#36965368)

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.com/LG-BD690-Wireless-Network-Blu-ray/dp/B004OF9XMI [amazon.com] )

Angels dancing... (1)

srussia (884021) | more than 3 years ago | (#36964478)

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?

Please (1)

TangoMargarine (1617195) | more than 3 years ago | (#36965262)

Don't call the MPAA angels.

"transmitting"? (3, Insightful)

ZorinLynx (31751) | more than 3 years ago | (#36964538)

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.

Definition of "publicly" in US copyright law (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#36964674)

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.

Re:Definition of "publicly" in US copyright law (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36964880)

So, by definition, if you transmit a video over the internet, everyone and their mother potentially have access to it?

One word: Encryption.

"at the same time or at different times" (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#36965004)

So, by definition, if you transmit a video over the internet, everyone and their mother potentially have access to it?

If you encrypt it to transmit it to one subscriber, then you encrypt it to transmit it to another subscriber, eventually you'll have encrypted it to transmit it to "a substantial number of persons outside of a normal circle of a family and its social acquaintances". This is true "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."

Judge's ruling pro-biz, anti-law (3, Interesting)

BcNexus (826974) | more than 3 years ago | (#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."

Shocking (1)

cfalcon (779563) | more than 3 years ago | (#36964618)

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

slingbox (1)

sorak (246725) | more than 3 years ago | (#36964724)

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

Public Performance (2, Informative)

Translation Error (1176675) | more than 3 years ago | (#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.

Re:Public Performance (2)

spazdor (902907) | more than 3 years ago | (#36965108)

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

Re:Public Performance (2)

smbell (974184) | more than 3 years ago | (#36965484)

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 performance has no bearing on whether or not those who enjoy the performance constitute “the public” under the transmit clause.

So watching a movie in the privacy of your own home is now a public performance.

Re:Public Performance (1)

blackest_k (761565) | more than 3 years ago | (#36965544)

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 go to bockbuster to rent a dvd?
would it make a difference if the rental was made on the hotel guests blockbuster account?

Is blockbuster prohibited from renting out a copy of a film if its returned early ? I don't think so.
I have no difficulty with dvd's made for rental , costing more than dvd's made for sale to private individuals
it's a different set of rights although it might be reasonable to buy and sell 2nd hand dvd's thats not illegal either,
is it?

Maybe it is illegal to have a shop or store selling 2nd hand goods ... who knew

     

Re:Public Performance (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36965584)

I call bull! How is a direct stream from the server to the person a public performance?

1) it's a one to one relationship (meaning only 1 person involved)
2) it's a private communication
3) they are not paying to watch the movie, they are paying to rent the dvd and paying the company to provide a link from their dvd (currently) to their pc which is legal

The 1991 ruling was stupid, and was NOT a binding precedence since it was done in lower court

Well they can't beat cable satellite before DVD (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 3 years ago | (#36964800)

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 to fit in to at least one of them there systems seems to be more like cable VOD or ONLIVE you are controlling a remote sever that is pushing out the video.

Zediva was screwed anyways (1)

Krater76 (810350) | more than 3 years ago | (#36965038)

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 made it so big retailers (Walmart, Target, etc.) had a limit of 5 per customer. It doesn't affect you and me but it prevents Redbox from getting a large stock of movies. Then Redbox had to make nice with the distributors to get the movies and one of the concessions was to wait 28 days before putting some movies in their machines. This is the same story with Blockbuster, Netflix, and any other (legitimate) company.

And it would be the same for Zediva too. Unless they only wanted a few customers, the scaling up of their business was going to have a few problems. And once that happens they are no better than Netflix or Redbox.

Re:Zediva was screwed anyways (1)

Whorhay (1319089) | more than 3 years ago | (#36965274)

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?

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