ZML Spells Hollywood’s Newest Nightmare

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ZML is positioning itself as the movie version of AllofMP3, a Russian service that provided downloadable music on the cheap. They claim over 1,500 movies, such as Transformers, Live Free or Die Hard, The Bourne Ulitimatum and lots of other big tiles with prices starting at $1.99. The service requires registration and a prepaid account using Visa or Mastercard. Downloads are billed against the prepaid account.

According to ZML, they have lots of hot movies that are playable on iPods and just about every device.

Over 1500 movies of premium DVD quality

Thousands of hot movies that you dare to watch. Movies are playable on various devices including iPod, PDA (HandHelds), PC, DVD & DivX players. Lowest prices on the web ever. Start downloading movies from $1.99 only! Absolutely no limits. You can download as much as you want with incredibly high speeds. No additional software required. Click on a link, download a movie and watch it on your favourite player.

ZML The Music Library

Sounds good, but there’s a catch. The catch as reported by NewTeeVee isn’t licensed by any of the Hollywood studios. The site is selling hundreds of blockbusters anyway, referring to a collective licensing agreement with an obscure Russian rights holders agency.

And here are the details from ZML’s terms of service:

6 Copyrights
6.1 All materials presented on this site are available for the distribution over the Internet in accordance with the license of the Russian Organization for multimedia and Digital Systems (ROMS) and intended for personal use only. Further distribution, resale or broadcasting is strictly prohibited.
6.2 The Site remunerates the fees for every downloaded File in accordance with the license agreement.
6.3 All trade marks, trade names, company names, slogans, logos, and any other copyright items, which can be seen on the Site pages in various contexts, are the property of their respective owners. You have no right to copy, distribute or use them without written permission from the owners.
6.4 The Client has no right to download any Files from the Site if this violates the law of his country.
6.5 The Site Administration can not control actions of each Client therefore the Client is responsible for any illegitimate use of the Site’s materials or/and Services

Wow. This is a nightmare for Hollywood and another blow to the copyright. I’m sure there will be lawsuits filed, if they haven’t been filed already.

The problem is that this seems to be legal in Russia according to AllofMp3 who is reporting court room victories in their copyright infringement suit.

On 24 October a district court in Moscow has confirmed the “no copyright infringement” verdict.

Earlier this year, on 15 August 2007 was acquitted of all charges brought up by IFPI. Consequently the Federation filed a protest on behalf of the labels. This protest was declined last week. This time IFPI promised to go as far as the Supreme Court.

I wish the music industry and Hollywood good luck in protecting their copyrights. However, this is the sad, but unfortunately accurate reality of digital media. Movies, music, news all need new business models that allow content to flow openly AND money to be made by the creators of the content when it flows openly. There’s only way to fight blatant ripoffs like ZML in the long run, turn them into profit opportunities for the originators of the content.

[tags]movies, online video, drm, piracy, downloadable movies, ZML, AllofMP3[/tags]

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