Before There Was Zediva


I’m shocked that it’s taken me this long to make the connection, but I realized today that two of my recent interests are related. First, there’s Zediva, the streaming-video website whose theory is that what it’s doing is legal because each stream comes from a legally purchased DVD that only one person can view at a time. And second, there’s this, from 2003:

… a Web site that would let customers stream movies from legally purchased DVDs, something that was not clearly illegal because only one customer at a time could view each stream …

That website never got off the ground. The idea was to host it from Sealand. But, as I summarize the story in my Sealand paper:

A Sealand advisor told the royal family that it risked bad publicity, and they balked at the deal. The fear was that United States would put pressure on England to put pressure on Sealand if it turned into a streaming-movie source.

Granted, the legal landscape has changed since 2003, and Sealand is so one-of-a-kind that any comparison to it is always a little misleading. But still, Zediva is trying a business model that Sealand was afraid to touch. Sealand!

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