Hollywood studios go after online movie rental service Zediva

If you were wondering when Zediva, the company that streams movies to consumers on demand from banks of DVD players in its Santa Clara data center for a buck or two per movie, was going to get hit with a lawsuit, your wait is over.

The company, which launched its service last month, is headed for court after being sued for copyright infringement by the Motion Picture Association of America.

The MPAA filed suit on behalf of six studios, Warner Bros., Sony Pictures, Paramount Pictures, Twentieth Century Fox, Universal Pictures and Disney studios.

MPAA legal eagles say Zediva was transmitting new releases to customers without the license it would need, labeling the company's claim that customers rent the DVDs "sophistry."

"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," Dan Robbins, the MPAA's associate general counsel, said in a statement. "Courts have repeatedly seen through the façade of this type of copyright-avoidance scheme, and we are confident they will in this case too."

The MPAA filed suit in federal district court in L.A. and wants the court to shut down Zediva; it's also seeking all profits from the rentals and unspecified damages, or $150,000 per violation.

For more:
- see this Wall Street Journal article
- see this Bloomberg article

Related article:
Zediva offers $1 online movie rentals