Movie Streamers Line Up Heavyweight Lawyers To Fight MPAA

The bizarre-yet-brilliant streaming movie service Zediva recently punched a hole straight through the MPAA's restrictive licensing roadblocks. Now the fledgling outfit is facing the legal might of Hollywood who want to bomb it back to the Stone Age. Perhaps surprisingly, Zedivca aren't rolling over and have instead compiled a dream team of lawyers to fight back.

Earlier this year a brand new streaming movie service appeared which repackaged and augmented something old in order to fill a gap in the market. The both brilliant and bizarre Zediva service allowed subscribers to watch movies online that are not available on services such as Netflix because they are still in the DVD sales window.

A product of the movie industry’s licensing rules put in place to avoid the cannibalization of DVD sales, Zediva allowed its subscribers to rent and view physical DVDs remotely using the Internet. Needless to say the MPAA weren’t amused and in early April they filed a lawsuit at the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles.

“Zediva illegally streams movies to its customers without obtaining required licenses from the movie studios,” said the MPAA, adding that Zediva is little more than a “sham”.

Zediva

But rather than roll over and die, perhaps surprisingly Zediva are fighting back. According to Paid Content, Zediva have hired a team of lawyers from “elite” San Francisco law firm, Durie Tangri.

The team includes Joe Gratz, the lead attorney in the recent case of EFF/Augusto v Universal Music Group. Troy Augusto was sued by UMG for selling promo CDs on eBay and was represented by the EFF. He won the case, affirming an eBay seller’s right to resell promotional CDs bought from secondhand stores.

Also on the team is file-sharing expert Michael Page. He was lead counsel for Grokster in their epic battle against the record labels and studios, representing them at district, Ninth Circuit, and Supreme Court levels. For this he received the California Lawyer Attorney of the Year award for 2005.

Also on the team is Mark Lemley who commands a place in countless lists of “most-admired” Intellectual Property lawyers. An author of six books, Lemley is a founding partner of Durie Tangri, a veteran of cases involving Comcast, Google, Grokster and NetFlix, and has taught intellectual property law to both federal and state judges.

As detailed by Paid Content, the MPAA aren’t taking any chances either. They’ve hired a team from Munger, Tolles & Olson which includes Glenn Pomerantz and Kelly Klaus – lawyers currently engaged in beating up LimeWire.

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