Federal Judge Orders Zediva Offline | Physical DVD Streaming Over Web Breaks Copyright Law

1 min read

Zediva LogoA company offering DVDs for rent in a unique way has been ordered offline by a federal judge. Apparently it isn’t acceptable to stream a DVD over the Internet under any circumstances whatsoever.

Movie Piracy

Move piracy

has been a problem for Hollywood for years, ever since home video became a dominant force and you could buy a hooky copy of the latest releases on street corners and in markets all over the world. These days DVDs have made it even easier, with people happy to sell you a copy of the latest blockbuster filmed by someone on their smartphone.

And then there is the Web, the latest villain the movie industry can blame for all its ills. Then again it does have the law on its side. Seemingly even when a company feels it is operating within the bounds of a legal loophole.

Zediva Shoots Blanks

Zediva is, for all intents and purposes, a DVD rental company. The difference is that rather than physically pass on a DVD for a customer to watch, Zediva plays it at its facility and let the customer watch over the Internet. Think of it as a DVD player with a really long cable attached to it and a customer sitting at the other end.

Zediva considered this as utilizing a loophole in copyright laws and believed itself to be immune. But the Hollywood studios disagreed and sued the company in April over the infringement of its public performance rights.

Last week saw a federal judge side with Hollywood, granting a preliminary injunction against the company. Zediva has already promised to appeal against the decision, but with a 1991 case involving a hotel streaming movies to individual rooms against it, the chances of the company succeeding seem remote.


As a layman this feels a little unfair. Zediva has bought a copy of the DVD, and the customer has paid for the privilege of renting it out. Does the fact they’re watching it over a long distance rather than in their front room mean it’s any less legitimate than Blockbuster or Redbox? It would appear so.

[Via CNET]

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