Another day, another innovative use of the Internet to deliver content to paying customers is killed by Hollywood. Because piracy is a much better option, obviously.
Zediva Lives, Then Withers
Zediva launched in January promising a new way of renting DVDs. Rather than sending them out by mail or selling them in kiosks, Zediva would stream a physical copy of a film from its headquarters. Customers would tap into the stream. And with 10 streams costing just $10 Zediva became popular very quickly. Unfortunately it was a short-lived success.
The MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) sued Zediva, claiming copyright and licensing violations. In August a federal judge ordered Zediva offline, granting a preliminary injunction against the company. An appeal seemed on the cards, but it wasn’t to be.
Zediva is now offline permanently, with the company settling its dispute with the MPAA by paying $1.8 million in fees. That brings the case, the planned appeal, and countersuit to a close.
Appealing is a lengthy and costly process, and I’m guessing Zediva realized its chances of winning against the bully boys of the MPAA and its very expensive lawyers was so remote (a little like the service in question) that it would be better to settle and walk away with head held high.
So Zediva dies and the MPAA wins. Or does it? All its done here is kill a company that was providing a service people actually wanted. And which was paying its dues to the content owners. Maybe it was exploiting a loophole in the law and not paying as much as others offering similar, but lawful, services. But it was making money from the Internet regardless.
The success of these services before they’re forced offline demonstrates one thing perfectly. That people will choose a legal option for obtaining digital content if it’s easy, accessible, and a fair price. Take that option away and guess what? They won’t pay at all. Way to sign your own death warrant, Hollywood. Well done.
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