Hollywood sues Indian American for selling films onlineApril 5th, 2011 - 10:06 pm ICT by IANS
Washington, April 5 (IANS) The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) has filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against Zediva.com and its Indian American CEO Venkatesh Srinivasan for streaming movies online for as little as $1 without permission.
The lawsuit Monday in a Los Angeles court by the studio trade group, including major Hollywood studios like Warner Brothers and Sony Pictures, came less than three weeks after the website began offering Flash-based rental streams from new release discs.
MPAA said Zediva’s claim to be a virtual brick-and-mortar rental store and thus not obligated to license fees was bogus, and merely a front for illegal streaming of copyright material.
“Zediva’s mischaracterisation 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, senior vice president and associate general counsel for the MPAA was quoted as saying by Home Magazine.
“Companies like Zediva profit off creators without paying them what is required by the law,” Robbins said.
“The DVD rental label is a sham. In reality, Zediva is a video-on-demand service that transmits movies over the Internet using streaming technologies in violation of the studios’ copyrights,” he added.
The MPAA has sought an injunction and undisclosed damages.
Santa Clara, California-based Zediva launched the new service March 16 with Srinivasan claiming the service using “Slingbox-like technology” was no different than Blockbuster, Netflix and Redbox.
The MPAA complaint alleges a single count of copyright infringement against Zediva’s parent company WTV Systems and IIT-Bombay alumnus Srinivasan.
According to Srinivasan’s profile on the Zediva website, he has a Ph.D in chemical engineering and “used to be an actual rocket scientist at NASA”. He graduated from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and IIT-Bombay.
(Arun Kumar can be contacted at email@example.com)
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