Movie Streaming Service Zediva Shuttered Over Legal Battle With MPAA, Vows To Keep Fighting

There goes Zediva. A federal judge issued a preliminary injunction against the video streaming start-up by ruling that the company violates copyright infringement. The injunction will effectively shut down Zediva, but due to a legal technicality, it won’t officially be issued for another week.

Zediva should have seen this coming. The company billed its streaming service as a DVD rental over the Internet and proudly proclaimed “New Movies before Netflix and Redbox.” They were essentially working (or so they thought) around several IP and copyright laws by streaming DVDs purchased at retail and then allowing customers to rent the physical DVD and DVD player. They said, this practice was essentially the same method of transmission used by video rental stores. The MPAA disagreed. (so did the judge)

The judge rejected Zediva’s claim that the service was akin to having a DVD player with a really long cable attached. The MPAA’s hounds argued that Zediva was serving up a public performance and did not have the proper pay-per-performance license. Judge John F. Walter agreed and stated, “Defendants are violating Plaintiffs’ exclusive right to publicly perform their Copyrighted Works.” and later, “Plaintiff’s argument that On Command’s system involves not “transmissions” but “electronic rentals” similar to patrons’ physical borrowing of videotapes is without merit.”

The MPAA praised the victory in a statement, “Judge Walter’s decision is a great victory for the more than two million American men and women whose livelihoods depend on a thriving film and television industry.”

Zediva isn’t going to roll over, though. The company vowed to keep fighting for those “looking for an alternative to Hollywood-controlled online movie services.”