MPAA Asks Judge to Shut Down Movie Streaming Service

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The Motion Picture Association of America wants you to stop watching movies at home. Specifically, it wants you to stop watching movies streamed online from Zediva, the “place-shifting private performance” site that allows subscribers to rent physical DVDs that are played in one central location, with the playback streamed to your own location through the internet.

The discussion over whether or not that actually counts as a “private performance” has been going on for some time – Zediva has a previous high-profile court case on its side – but is anything but trivial for the parties involved, or anyone else in the VoD industry; Zediva’s definition of “private performance” allows them to stream any DVD movie online, without studio permission and, in many cases, ahead of any other VoD service having access to the same content.

Unsurprisingly, the MPAA wants Zediva to quit it – and last week, they finally asked a federal judge to force that to happen, explaining that Zediva’s definition of its business model “omit[s] the fact that what they call a ‘very long cable’ is in fact a transmission over the Internet, and not the handing over of a copy to a user. The transmission is what makes Defendants’ conduct a public performance under the statutory definition.”

The MPAA believes that it’s found a prior case that equals Zediva’s legal standing: a Third Circuit decision that transmitting videos into a private viewing booth counted as public performance. And it makes the request in the middle of ongoing legal discussions between the two parties.

Thursday’s request was merely a preliminary injunction, and has not, as yet, been granted.