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Hollywood studios sue online film service Zediva

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SAN FRANCISCO – Hollywood studios went to court to derail a startup that sidesteps paying film licensing fees by streaming movies online from “rented” DVD players.

The Motion Picture Association of America 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.

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“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 Google TVs. Films can be routed from computers to large-screen televisions.

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Movies 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.”

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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.


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AT&T pressured employees to set up phony DirecTV Now accounts ahead of Time Warner merger: suit

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A new lawsuit accuses AT&T of pressuring employees to set up phony DirecTV Now accounts to boost subscription numbers ahead of a $85 billion merger with Time Warner.

The suit filed by a group of investors claims AT&T knowingly told shareholders that DirectTV Now was growing, when subscribers were actually leaving the platform, reported Markets Insider.

"Employees were taught and actively encouraged to convert activation fees that customers traditionally had to pay to upgrade their phones into DirecTV Now subscriptions by waiving the fee," the lawsuit claims.

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Why Bill Maher is wrong about fat-shaming

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On a recent episode of his Friday evening talk show, Bill Maher proposed that society combat obesity by body-shaming overweight individuals. He argued that “fat shaming doesn’t need to end, it needs to make a comeback” to deter people from overeating.

Obesity is a national epidemic that is placing a significant burden on our health care system. Nearly 40% of Americans are considered obese, costing upwards of US$150 billion dollars per year in health costs, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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‘Does Jesus not do reality TV?’: Sean Spicer mocked for saying a vote for him is a vote for Christ

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"But if Christ is on your side then wouldn’t you just win? Or does Jesus not do reality television?"

Former Trump White House press secretary Sean Spicer made his premiere performance on "Dancing With the Stars" Monday night, and was widely mocked for his outfit – and his dancing:

In last night's "Dancing With the Stars" premiere, Sean Spicer wore a neon ruffled shirt that was skewered on social media. The judges were also not impressed. https://t.co/jhm1ES1csn pic.twitter.com/CwYMmCSEFF

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