Copyright Law

Federal Judge Says Zediva's Rent-a-DVD-and-Player Online Business Infringes, OKs Injunction

A creative concept for providing instant access to movies as soon as they are available on DVD, by renting both a DVD and a player to a single customer via the Internet, arguably complied with copyright law.

But a federal judge in central California agreed with movie studios that it didn’t, finding that the live-streaming of the rented material by Zediva was a performance requiring licensing fees. A preliminary injunction issued Monday by U.S. District Judge John Walter is expected to put an end to the company’s rent-a-DVD-and-player business, according to PC World.

“As the copyright holders, plaintiffs have the exclusive right to decide when, where, to whom, and for how much they will authorize transmission of their copyrighted works to the public,” he said in his written opinion on the Motion Picture Association of America case. By undercutting the market at rental prices of as little as $10 for 10 movies, Zediva reduced the value of the licenses that movie studios could grant, Reuters reports.

Zediva plans to appeal.

The business model had proved so popular with the Santa Clara, Calif.-based start-up’s customers that Zediva had had to limit its DVD-and-player rentals to an invitation-only customer base, the PC World article notes.

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