The MPAA’s fight on behalf of the studios to shut down movie-streaming site Zediva began in April, when it filed a lawsuit claiming the service offered up films to paying customers without permission from copyright owners, violating the studios’ exclusive right to publicly perform their movies under federal law. Today, U.S. District Judge John Walter agreed, entering a a permanent injunction prohibiting the site’s operators from continuing the service and from any further infringement (see the doc here). Zediva’s owners have also agreed to a payment of $1.8 million to the studios. “This result sends a strong message to those who would exploit the studios’ works in violation of copyright law, on the Internet or elsewhere, and it is an important victory for the more than 2 million American men and women whose livelihoods depend on a thriving film and television industry,” MPAA SVP and Associate General Counsel Dan Robbins said in announcing the result. The MPAA’s member studios sued WTV Systems, the parent company of Zediva, and Venkatesh Srinivasan, Zediva’s founder and CEO. Walter granted a preliminary injunction in August.
The MPAA’s lawsuit against streaming-video site Zediva picked up steam today when a federal judge granted a preliminary injunction against the site’s operators. The movie studio trade group sued WTV Systems, the parent company of Zediva, and Venkatesh Srinivasan, Zediva’s founder and CEO, back in April and filed a motion for the preliminary injunction May 26. The lawsuit alleges that Zediva violated the studios’ exclusive right to publicly perform their movies under copyright law, acting as an unauthorized video-on-demand service; the site says it was a rental service and not obligated to pay licensing fees. “Movie fans today have more on-demand options than ever for watching films at home, from iTunes to Netflix to Amazon to Vudu to Hulu to the VOD offerings from cable and satellite operators,” said Dan Robbins, SVP and associate general counsel for the MPAA, in a release announcing the court’s ruling. “All these legitimate companies have obtained licenses from the copyright owners. The court found Zediva’s service threatened the development of these lawful VOD and Internet-based services.”
The MPAA filed a copyright-infringement lawsuit in Los Angeles today against operators of the movie-streaming service Zediva, which the movie studio organization says illegally streams movies to its customers without obtaining required licenses, a violation of the studios’ right to “publicly perform” their works. Zediva claims it is like a brick-and-mortar DVD “rental” store and therefore not obligated to pay licensing fees to copyright holders. But the MPAA says Zediva is a video-on-demand service that transmits movies over the Internet using streaming technologies in violation of the studios’ copyrights. “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,” said Dan Robbins, SVP and Associate General Counsel for the MPAA. “Courts have repeatedly seen through the façade of this type of copyright-avoidance scheme, and we are confident they will in this case too.”