Zediva to Appeal Hollywood Injunction to Ninth Circuit

The judge-ordered suspension of the online streaming service may be heading to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals as the MPAA looks to spread news about its success far and wide.

Zediva, the online movie streaming service that made waves earlier this year by "renting" recently-released movies to customers, has officially provided notice that it is going to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals with hopes of overturning a preliminary injunction that suspended its operations.

In August, Hollywood studios successfully obtained that injunction by arguing that Zediva's service constituted an illegal public exhibition of its copyrighted material.

Zediva countered that it was engaged in private exhibitions of movies merely intended to offer the public a more convenient way to view them. Zediva allowed its customers to rent both DVDs and DVD players from afar and remotely control each over the Internet, arguing the method of delivery was similar to putting a "longer cable" between a DVD player and individual viewers.

California federal judge John F. Walter rejected that view. In his order, the judge agreed with the studios that Zediva needs the permission of copyright holders to operate its service.

The company is now reaching for a higher authority to determine whether its service is consistent with US copyright law. On Wednesday, Zediva provided notice that it was appealing. 

Meanwhile, the MPAA is still looking to spread news about its success.

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. 

Meanwhile, Zediva has really suspended shop, telling customers on its website that the company is "having to lay off our DVD-changing monkeys."

Those monkeys were unavailable for comment. At least one is thinking about filing a wrongful termination action. A few are planning a rebellion against their evil human overlords. The others are busy on typewriters reproducing that long-rumored Shakespeare sonnet.  

E-mail: eriqgardner@yahoo.com

Twitter: @eriqgardner