Innovation That Matters

DVD swapping platform could bring millions of films to the cloud, legally

Publishing & Media

Movieswap is a website that is trying to bring the act of DVD sharing from the physical into the digital.

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Watching movies is still not as simple as picking a song on Spotify, despite the move to video-streaming from services like Netflix and Hulu. But now a new crowdfunded startup is looking to make on-demand films even more immediate.

MovieSwap is a cancelled project that was aiming to become the first community-based movie library; a subscription-funded source for millions of films. MovieSwap say that because users have already paid for their DVDs, they can move them into the cloud to swap them, allowing them to be remotely played by other MovieSwap users.

The concept is exciting, but could run into legal complications with film producers. However, the developers say they found a way around this — by offering up their own DVDs, users are ‘swapping’ them for other films. Alternatively, movie lovers can pay for the use of the library, and invest in the platform as part of the startup’s crowdfunding campaign.

The startup’s website says: “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.”

MovieSwap’s legal backing comes from two concepts, first sale doctrine and fair use. Though the team successfully crowdfunded beyond their goal on Kickstarter, raising more than EUR 87,000, institutional backers pulled out and the project was cancelled.

We have seen projects bringing homes to the sharing economy with home swapping; what other services could benefit from a sharing platform, and how can these ensure they remain legal?



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