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.
“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.
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.”
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.
‘Tiger King’ star loses animal park to nemesis he tried to kill
The star of hit Netflix series "Tiger King" will have to hand over the ownership of his famous zoo to the nemesis he tried to have murdered, a court has ruled.
Joe Exotic, whose real name is Joseph Maldonado-Passage, is in jail after he was sentenced to 22 years in prison in January for the attempted murder of Carole Baskin.
His feud with Baskin, an animal sanctuary owner, captivated millions in the Netflix documentary that became a sensation when it was released in March as America went into coronavirus lockdown.
Baskin had for years accused Exotic of abusing the animals, including tigers, in his park.
Fox reporter gets earful over looting question: ‘Your ancestors profited off me and that’s repercussions’
A reporter for Fox affiliate KTTV in Los Angeles got an earful from Santa Monica residents after he asked why protesters were so upset following the police killing of George Floyd.
After apparent looting in Santa Monica on Sunday, reporter Phil Shuman asked a bystander to explain the unrest.
"It's just collective anger," the man said.
"Collective anger at what?" Shuman wondered.
"You already know," the bystander replied. "At the injustices that's been happening. Look, cops are killing people. They are breaking the rules."
"Well, one cop is accused of killing one person," Shuman interrupted.
Former pal Piers Morgan blisters Trump for ‘hiding in his bunker’ as America burns
British presenter Piers Morgan criticized President Donald Trump for "hiding in his bunker" instead of leading America out of a dark period in its history.
In an op-ed for The Daily Mail, Morgan addressed the police killing of George Floyd and the protests that followed.
"I understand the rage of the protesters," Morgan wrote. "Yet the one person who could most powerfully effect change is doing the complete opposite."
The op-ed continued: