MPAA So Thrilled With Zediva Ruling, It Offers To Help The Court Spread It

from the nice-of-them dept

We recently wrote about the decision by a district court judge that suggests if you have a very long cable, instead of a short cable, you may be committing copyright infringement. The exact length of the cable is not specified. This is, of course, ridiculous, but it’s the only way to read the judge’s ruling in the Zediva case that makes sense. Basically, if you have your DVD player at home, you’re okay. But if your DVD player is in Zediva’s data center, and you connect to it via the long cable of the internet, Zediva is infringing. I can’t see how this makes any sense, but that’s why they don’t let me be a judge.

Either way, it’s not very surprising that Zediva is appealing the ruling to the Ninth Circuit appeals court, which is somewhat famous for its inconsistent and, at times, contradictory approach to jurisprudence. In other words, who knows what will come out of the appeals court. It’s tough to predict.

But, in the meantime, the MPAA apparently wants to get as much mileage as possible about the original ruling by Judge John F. Walter. It appears they’re so in love with the ruling that they’re sending love letters to the court about how more people should see the ruling, and how they’re even willing to help out with the promotion:


On Thursday, attorneys for the movie studio asked Judge Walter to consider publishing his injunction order in the Federal Register so that other judges around the nation currently overseeing Internet copyright cases would have the benefit of seeing what they believe to be an astute analysis of the “transmit” clause in the Copyright Act and what it means for Internet streaming transmissions to be “to the public” under the clause. The plaintiffs also say they would be more than happy to submit the judge’s opinion on his behalf to the Westlaw database.

In other words, this ruling is so ridiculous and so one-sided, that the MPAA hopes to get it ingrained among judges everywhere as quickly as possible, knowing full well that a higher court might knock them back to reality, and point out that judging whether or not something is infringing by the length of the cable between the DVD player and the TV is simply ridiculous.

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Companies: mpaa, zediva

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Comments on “MPAA So Thrilled With Zediva Ruling, It Offers To Help The Court Spread It”

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68 Comments
Bengiesays:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

I do wish on them that they lose everything and get stuck in the working class, but that will never happen.

MPAA/RIAA are one of the worst sources of corruption in our government. They inhibit culture while exploiting people by purchasing laws.

I consider welfare lifers and drug dealers higher than them.

Many welfare people are just leeches. Most drug dealers are passively causing destruction because there is demand for their product.

MPAA/RIAA active go out of their way and spend billions trying to screw over the general population.

Rikuosays:

Reasonable business plan

1. New startup pays a moderate licence fee for movies, not too high so that they can enjoy a profit.
2. Don’t sue them.
3. Reap the rewards, without doing any work.

Stupid business plan.
1. New startup is charged ridiculously high licensing fees.
2. Sue them.
3. Only get a one time amount of money.
4. No new startups appear, out of fear of being sued.

Killercoolsays:

Confusing...

If I remember correctly, by the definitions created/assigned in the ruling, the judge decided that what were formerly known as “private citizens” are now always members of “the public”.
Following his logic, there can be no such thing as a private performance. You know, like you purchase a dvd for yourself to watch at home. Since you are a member of the public, by it’s very nature, any performance of that dvd is a public performance, no matter the cord length.
Please, can anyone prove me wrong based on this ruling? I would love to know it. You know, since I own a few bookcases of way too expensive dvds that the judge said I can’t watch with the “license” that I purchased.

Richardsays:

Re: Re: Confusing...

If I remember correctly, by the definitions created/assigned in the ruling, the judge decided that what were formerly known as “private citizens” are now always members of “the public”.
Following his logic, there can be no such thing as a private performance. You know, like you purchase a dvd for yourself to watch at home. Since you are a member of the public, by it’s very nature, any performance of that dvd is a public performance, no matter the cord length.

This is the kind of contorted reasoning you get when you start with the conclusion you want to arrive at and then try to twist the law and/or the facts to fit.

DandonTRJsays:

Re: Re: Confusing...

Not quite. A public performance is when the performance is offered to any member of the public [or held in a place open to the public]. When you purchase the DVD, there is no performance occurring, merely a distribution of product. When you get home, you are the one rendering the performance, and in a place not open to the public. Hence, a private performance. When you operate an outfit like Zediva, Netflix, or any other streaming service, and you do business with any member of the public, the performances you stream are deemed to be “to the public,” hence “public performances.” Hopefully that clarifies what the court means when they say “to the public.”

Anonymoussays:

You know… why spend money to start up your own datacenter to offer new “remote DVD players” when you can make the same kind of money by just suing the world? Or maybe they’re pissed they didn’t think of it first… who knows.

I can’t see how this makes any sense, but that’s why they don’t let me be a judge. I guess the MAFIAA would make excellent judges!

out_of_the_bluesays:

"the wire between my DVD player and my TV is 10 feet..."

Your quote from prior piece is where you mis-state the case. You’re a serial mis-understander. — It’s not /your/ DVD player, it’s a /public/ one owned by a corporation and pretty much broadcasting over the internet. Zediva is attempting the method as a dodge around public performance, and it’s been found over the line.

Killercoolsays:

Re: Re: "the wire between my DVD player and my TV is 10 feet..."

Customers watching one of Plaintiffs? Copyrighted Works on their computer through Zediva?s system are not necessarily watching it in a ?public place,? but those customers are nonetheless members of ?the public.? …. The non-public nature of the place of the performance has no bearing on whether or not those who enjoy the performance constitute ?the public? under the transmit clause. – Honorable John F. Walter, United states district judge.

Sorry. Wrong again. The judge defined the viewer as public, not the player.

JackHerersays:

Re: Re: "the wire between my DVD player and my TV is 10 feet..."

Also by your logic I could not have business that rented DVDs and also rented DVD players as playing the DVD on this player owned by my company would make it a “public performance”. The point people are getting at is that if the “performance” takes place anywhere it takes place where it is being shown, so if it is being shown in a bar then it is a public performance (and the bar owner needs a public performance licence) and if it is shown in somebody’s house then it is not a public performance. The location of the “player” seems pretty irrelevant here.

E. Zachary Knightsays:

Re: Re: "the wire between my DVD player and my TV is 10 feet..."

If that were the case, then anyone who rents out DVD players is now guilty of copyright infringement and is liable for damages and to be shut down.

There are a lot of businesses that rent out DVDs and Players. They are not as common now as they were in the days of VHS, but they are still out there.

DandonTRJsays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: "the wire between my DVD player and my TV is 10 feet..."

But when they rent the DVD player and hand it off to you, they are no longer the ones rendering the performance. They are merely distributing to you equipment necessary to render said performances yourself without any other potential source of control. The courts have seemed to create the distinction that if a company still has potential control over the DVD player [like by it residing in a central location, be it Zediva’s warehouse or a hotel’s data center for streaming to their rooms], they are assumed to have control over the performances rendered [and are thus creating such performances for any member of the public who elects to use the service]. Not the greatest feat of common sense, perhaps, but that’s law for you.

Richardsays:

Re: Re: "the wire between my DVD player and my TV is 10 feet..."

It’s not /your/ DVD player, it’s a /public/ one owned by a corporation and pretty much broadcasting over the internet.

It’s not /your/ DVD player, it’s one owned by a corporation and rented excclusively to you for the duration of the performance and streaming to you only over the internet.

So the situation is exactly as if you paid a service company to have a rented DVD player in your home and for their employees to come around and insert rented DVD’s into it.

I don’t always disagree with you – sometimes you have some good points but here you are definitely misunderstanding the situation.

MonkeyFracasJrsays:

Re: Re: "the wire between my DVD player and my TV is 10 feet..."

“pretty much broadcasting over the internet.”
No, wrong.

broad?cast

verb /ˈbr?dˌkast/ 

Transmit (a program or some information) by radio or television
– the announcement was broadcast live
– the 1920s saw the dawn of broadcasting

Take part in a radio or television transmission
– the station broadcasts 24 hours a day

Tell (something) to many people; make widely known
– we don’t want to broadcast our unhappiness to the world

Scatter (seeds) by hand or machine rather than placing in drills or rows

This is not “to many people”, this is to a single individual renter (who MAY be viewing with family and/or friends).

If you choose to speak inaccurately you choose to spread FUD.

another mikesays:

Re: Re: "the wire between my DVD player and my TV is 10 feet..."

And despite jumping through those hoops and using what has to be the most technically inefficient set-up, they were still sued out of business by a media dinosaur.
I have to wonder if this isn’t being done on purpose by some perverse genius trying to drive innovation towards an unbreakable distribution scheme. Just like music sharing after Napster, every time the MAFIAA finds and kills one of these companies, their replacements are always more efficient and more secure distribution models. At this point this has to be purposeful action.

RevCharlieDsays:

My Cables too long

If you follow this to the next conclusion jump ? the manufacturer, and the supplied of these extra long cables will be liable for enabling the illegal activity, they become complicit. Stalin had the right idea?
Maybe MPAA should require warning labels on the DVD and Cable packaging regarding potentially illegal activities associated with the use of this product. It would certainly apply to the minors and those who rent DVD?s for group consumption. I know? Let?s require a Web Cam on every DVD player so the MAPP can count the number of people viewing the DVD. They could create software the counts the occupants of the room and charge accordingly. Just enter your credit card number to view the movie.
We are pathetic? This is the level of intelligence on this planet? Beam Me UP!

That Anonymous Cowardsays:

Re: Re: My Cables too long

Someone built that into a TV.
Somewhere in my mind is the memory of a story of a TV that could see who was in the room, and guess ages and gender.

http://www.physorg.com/news/2011-06-nhk-tv.html

http://www.extremetech.com/computing/93698-the-big-brother-tv-that-watches-you

Its possible, they just need to figure out the correct way to use “Its for the children” or “It will stop terrorists” to get a law passed demanding the tech everywhere.

Nathan Fsays:

I’m not sure having a judgment that is being appealed to the next higher court should be published in this Register publication. If that appeal gets denied and the case dies then by all means, try and make that happen, but while action is still pending on it I believe it would be detrimental to the justice system to publish it in such a manner.

BeeAitchsays:

“…judging whether or not something is infringing by the length of the cable between the DVD player and the TV is simply ridiculous.”

I wholly agree with this statement, but see it slightly differently. It’s not so much the length of the cable, but the fact that there is more than one cable between the DVD player and the television.

Small difference, equally as stupid.

That Anonymous Cowardsays:

Re: Re:

IIRC I thought Zediva made sure that that only 1 client could use 1 DVD player and 1 physical disc at a time.
They did this to avoid the insane streaming fees, and to avoid hassles with the law.

The customer gets the EXCLUSIVE use of “their” DVD player that they have paid to rent, and they get the EXCLUSIVE use of the physical DVD they rented.

So now Zediva is being told because an end user might do something the MPAA doesn’t like (not always illegal things mind you) they are illegal.

BeeAitchsays:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

“IIRC I thought Zediva made sure that that only 1 client could use 1 DVD player and 1 physical disc at a time.
They did this to avoid the insane streaming fees, and to avoid hassles with the law.”

That is my understanding as well. My point is that since they don’t specify what length cable is too long, maybe their argument is that the transmission has to pass through many switches and repeaters (i.e. more than one cable) instead of directly from the DVD player to the TV.

As ComputerAddict pointed out above, by this argument many home theater setups would also be infringing.

I don’t agree with either argument; they’re equally stupid. I was just commenting that maybe their ‘reasoning’ isn’t the length of the cable, rather the number of cables (or, put another way, that the DVD player and TV are not directly coupled with one cable).

dtasays:

Re: Re: The sloth of Zediva

That’s right; it was a physical disc in a physical DVD reader. The funny thing is this system made it so inconvenient and slow loading, as the disc was physically loaded, booted up, ran through the previews, accessed menus…that it would have failed on its own eventually. I did watch a few things there, because it cost $1, but it was just stupid slow.

Overcastsays:

Get all the court decisions you want. But still – if your product is overpriced, I’m not going to buy it.

And knowing now, how easy it is to replicate media – a fair price is not what it used to be.

A movie is certainly not worth $40.00 to me now, not even $20.00…

I can just wait a bit and catch it on the on-demand subscriptions I have..

Anonymoussays:

Sort of like the ruling against Hotfile last week for disclosure of all customer data, all file data, and pretty much everything except the source code to the site. You know, the story you totally ignored. Cases like these go towards tipping the balance against widespread infringement, and against business models that push the envelope too far.

It is a Tardian nightmare, I know… but change is on the way!

Richardsays:

Re: Re:

One or two legal swallows aren’t going to make a summer.

Many cases are going the other way too – Righthaven (xN) ACS law, Davenport Lyons etc etc.

Even if all your legal dreams come true it won’t persuade people to go back to buying lots of overpriced stuff. The reason the mass content copying industry is failing IS the internet – but it ISN’T piracy – it IS Facebook, Twitter and Youtube (and I mean genuine user produced content here – I watch lots of stuff on Youtube – but almost never mainstream stuff). These things just give people so many more options for their leisure and entertainment.

Also bear in mind that the money that pays for video games is a zero sum with that which pays for music and movies so as the former rises the latter must fall to some extent.

You’re simply indulging in wishful thinking.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: the ruling against ....

Umm, how hard is it to figure out where to see this stuff? It’s amusing as heck to me at TorrentMike doesn’t want to talk about it, but even Torrent Freak runs it big:

http://torrentfreak.com/hotfile-ordered-to-share-user-data-with-the-mpaa-110830/

“Firstly this means that Hotfile has to disclose details on all files ever uploaded to Hotfile, including the title, number of downloads and the IP-addresses of the uploaders and downloaders.”

Read it and weep.

MonkeyFracasJrsays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Hotfile Ruling

Based on the details given in the article I don’t find this surprising.

I do feel that is it wrong to persecute the host company because it users choose to utilize it for questionable (if not illegal) purposes. They are the target because they are an easy target, and an easy “choke-point” to attempt to curtail illegal activity. And I understand the argument that some make saying that they are in business solely to support this illegal activity. But that is far too broad a statement. It may even be true that many file sharing sites would not be successful with out the illegal activity, but A) the site is not committing the activity and B) “infringing” files are not the only files that can be used on the sites.
Again the end users are choosing to use the site for what they choose. If they are in the wrong pursue them.

I know this is a hated argument but you don’t (successfully) blame gun makers because people use their products to commit crimes.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re: Re: Hotfile Ruling

If the gun maker was teaching people how to be hitmen and taking a cut on each murder, they would be in trouble.

Hotfile runs one of those “pay to download faster” programs, and cuts the original uploader in as an affiliate. That means that the more popular the content, the more money the affiliate makes.

The “pay for download faster” model absolutely depends on selling the content, not the service. Without content that people really, really, really want and are willing to pay a little to avoid paying retail, you cannot sell them a faster download.

Pretty much the entire file locker business may die as a result of this process, but Mike sure ain’t covering it!

JMTsays:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re: Re: Re: Hotfile Ruling

“Pretty much the entire file locker business may die as a result of this process…”

And it’s amazing how gleeful you are about that. If this were a different time and a different legal challenge, would you be just as happy that “the entire VCR business may die as a result of this process”, or “the entire DVD player business may die as a result of this process”, or “the entire MP3 player business may die as a result of this process”?

Face it, there is no technology that has ever been successfully killed by legal processes. You need to give up on that pipe dream.

PaulTsays:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re: Re: Re: Re: Hotfile Ruling

Plus, of course, every technology you just mentioned turned into a cash cow for the industry once they stopped the headless chicken act and actually deal with customer demand. Almost as though people will buy content if provided to them in the way they wish, rather than how the industry is most comfortable…

I have absolutely no doubt that AC would have been on the side of the “Boston Stranger” and “home taping is killing music” sides in previous eras. Probably doing his best to kill those industries before they could be effectively monetised, too.

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: the ruling against ....

It’s amusing as heck to me at TorrentMike doesn’t want to talk about it, but even Torrent Freak runs it big:

Are you still on this? I already explained why we didn’t cover it, and yet you’re still claiming we’re ignoring it?

A minor ruling on discovery is not a big deal. Nothing about this ruling was big or surprising. Anyone who thinks it is doesn’t know the law.

Dave Hansensays:

You've missed the point...

The importance of the MPAA’s request is lost in this post. First, as a technical matter, if this became a “published case”, it wouldn’t show up in the federal register, but the “federal supplement”. The federal register is for administrative and agency-related documents; the “federal supplement” is the place where federal district court cases are “published.”

I put “published” in scare quotes because, even if this were not designated as a “published” case, it is still available to other courts and is printed in a series called the “federal appendix.” The difference is that once a case is “published” by the court in the formal sense, it becomes binding precedent on subsequent courts. If it is not designated as “published”, it is just printed in the “federal appendix” but other courts would not rely on it. Unpublished (but printed) cases are like a judicial FYI–they are nice to know about, but they don’t ultimately matter so much to subsequent courts.

“Spreading the word” is not the issue. What the MPAA is really doing is trying to get the judge to say that this decision should be binding precedent on other courts that hear similar cases.

wvhillbillysays:

MPAA tyranny

There’s only one way I can think of to stop this sort of overstepping, and that would be for everyone in this country to stop buying MPAA DVDs, stop going to the movies, and send DVD sales into the tank.

But these people’s minds are so eaten up with greed, even if it did happen they’d find something else to blame it on. The RIAA has insisted on suing their customers back to the stone age, their sales have tanked, and they can’t figure out why. I guess they’re still blaming it all on downloading.

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