MovieSwap Aims to Be a Huge Crowd-Powered Streaming Service

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A new service gathering steam on Kickstarter is set to immediately attract Hollywood's lawyers should it get off the ground. MusicSwap says it will receive millions of DVDs from its members, rip them, and serve them remotely from the cloud to any device, anywhere. "You think we're crazy?" their promo video asks. Absolutely.

movie-swap-smallWhile some great things happen on the platform, Kickstarters aren’t widely covered here on TF. There are an awful lot of them and most in our niche rarely grow into anything noteworthy.

Today, however, we’re going to make an exception because if this particular project takes off, it’s going to blow up – probably in the most spectacular way.

“What if you had an unlimited access to the LARGEST ONLINE MOVIE LIBRARY EVER? A community based library, where you could watch any movie online. A library where you could swap films with contributors all over the world and discover an infinite number of stories. This is the revolutionary idea behind MovieSwap,” the Kickstarter begins.

MovieSwap, should it get off the ground, will be a subscription service, presumably a little like Netflix. However, instead of teaming up with studios and distributors to offer content, MovieSwap intends to take the idea of swapping a physical DVD with friends to its logical, Internet-powered conclusion.

Noting that more than 25 billion DVDs have been sold in the past 15 years, MovieSwap wants to take this dying format and breathe new life into it.

“Because people already PAID for them, we invented a fair way to give [DVDs] a brilliant second life,” the promo material reads. But how? Well, this is where it gets interesting.

MovieSwap says it will collect millions of genuine DVDs from all over the world and register them with the service on behalf of their owners. The team claims to already have 200,000 in its warehouse.

movie-swap-ware

Once in their possession, MovieSwap will digitize/rip the DVDs and place them in the cloud for members to play on any device, anywhere. But that’s not all.

“Then, just like you can legally lend, swap, or offer a DVD to a friend, MovieSwap works in the same way, but on a much larger scale thanks to its remote playback technology,” the team says.

“Additionally, users can get the full DVD experience including bonuses, deleted scenes, director’s commentaries, and other unique features not available when streaming videos online.”

According to the MovieSwap team, the service will be available on PC, Mac, Android tablets and even on a Firestick-style HDMI Android dongle. Interestingly the PC version will utilize VLC Media Player to read DVDs “over the Internet”, with VLC’s president Jean-Baptiste Kempf already on record as financially backing the project.

movieswap-vlc

Hats off to the MovieSwap team for having the guts to put together something as innovative as this. It’s not only a brilliant use for a dying format but also an excellent way to make use of already-paid-for content that people have lying around their homes. There’s no doubt that the public will absolutely love this service.

Trouble is, Hollywood will hate MovieSwap in similar measures and at the first opportunity will begin torching it to the ground.

Somehow, however, MovieSwap insist they’re on solid ground. They have an intellectual property graduate on board and they believe that their business model is entirely legal.

“MovieSwap is also strongly advised and based its approach on a fully legal basis, combining two legal concepts known as ‘first sale doctrine’ and ‘fair use’,” they state.

At the moment MovieSwap has a 35,000 euro funding goal and at the time of writing they’re only 5,000 euros short. While that might be enough to get them off the ground, it won’t be enough to fight an even moderately bitter fight with Hollywood, even if they were to spend all of it on lawyers.

This seems like a classic case of brilliant minds running wild in order to create a service that everyone will love, but also one that’s a prime candidate for a messy legal battle that enriches only the lawyers. This is definitely one to watch, in every sense of the word.

The Kickstarter can be found here.

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