Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login

Still greed if you ask me, how would it be different from me renting a movie at home and having friends over?

I dread the day when we have forced ocular/ear implants that allow for the blocking of anything we dont have a license for.

Nonetheless I get your point, I just believe it's sad that for all the innovation a free market touts, all I remember are the cool/amazing/interesting things they took from us by stifling real innovation.

> how would it be different from me renting a movie at home and having friends over?

It would be different because Netflix has a contract to pay money for that licensed content, and sooner or later, that contract will need to be renewed. At that point, a Hollywood exec and a Netflix exec will sit across a boardroom table, and the Hollywood exec will say, "Your offer sounds OK, but we need to stop this watch party thing."

Whether that demand makes sense to your or I or the Netflix exec is moot. The Hollywood exec wants it, and it doesn't matter why, because they get to decide whether Netflix can keep licensing that content.

Or maybe Netflix could say "no this is a service we are providing to our users" and then the big "Hollywood exec" would be like "ok maybe we will not sit on the million dollars we get from our agreement" and that would be it.

Content is king; Netflix, as long as it doesn't have exclusive rights, is just a middleman trying to extract rents. As soon as technically competent competitors popped up (Amazon etc.) Netflix's margin on licensed content is liable to be squeezed.

That's why Netflix borrows so much to spend on creating its own content. It's not viable otherwise.

not exactly sure how to parse your wording for the Hollywood exec, but I assume you're saying Netflix has the leverage and the Hollywood person has to shut up and take the money?

that doesn't seem to be the case in reality. Netflix streaming doesn't really have a lot of big Hollywood movies.

How much content are you going to sacrifice to preserve a feature? Which draws in more customers, having good content to watch or the ability to do it in a party format?

Ideally you have both, but if forced to choose, you choose whatever makes sense for your business.

> for all the innovation a free market touts, all I remember are the cool/amazing/interesting things they took from us by stifling real innovation.

What? The market brought you the personal computer revolution, the mobile phone revolution, the internet revolution, your Xbox, etc and “all you remember” is shared movie viewing?

Wasn't the internet a product of the US government?

No. At least not the one that has useful stuff on it. Companies selling it to consumers and consumers/businesses putting stuff on it is what made it such a resounding success.

The internet created by the government was just a network connecting research labs together.

depends on whether you think creating a small research network is a bigger contribution than the billions spent by the private sector to build it into what it is today.

having an idea or even a reasonable prototype is often not the hardest part of building something useful.

Greed enforced by copyright law is still greed. It’s ok to call it what it is.

Technically, when you rent a movie, you are not allowed to invite friends over to watch it with you. By renting the title, you were granted a temporary private viewing license. Inviting people over constituted a public viewing. Copyright laws are ludicrous.

I’m not sure about the rental license, but copyright law says this:

To perform or display a work “publicly” means—

(1) to perform or display it at a place open to the public or at any place where a substantial number of persons outside of a normal circle of a family and its social acquaintances is gathered; or

(2) to transmit or otherwise communicate a performance or display of the work to a place specified by clause (1) or to the public, by means of any device or process, whether the members of the public capable of receiving the performance or display receive it in the same place or in separate places and at the same time or at different times.


LegalZoom writes:

Most movies are intended for personal, private viewing only. If you're watching a movie in a group with your family and friends in your home, there is no issue under copyright law. Similarly, if you rent out a space for a private party and screen a movie for family and friends, and the party is exclusive to your guests and closed to the general public, there will not be a copyright law violation. However, if your event was open to members of the public outside your small group, the movie showing might be considered a “public performance."

If the showing is considered public, you are restricted by copyright law. Typically, you can't legally show a movie to the public unless you obtain public performance license from the copyright owner. You can obtain a public performance license by either contacting the copyright holder directly or by licensing from entities set up specifically for the purposes of licensing movies, such as Swank Motion Pictures or the Motion Picture Licensing Corporation.


First off, great concept! I would like to try this at least once.

But second, is that really true? I’m actually curious. I can’t imagine watching a rented movie in a private residence would be considered a ‘public’ viewing. If that is the case, where do they draw the line? Is it literally only for myself, the one person who purchased the rental? How many other people can be in the room? One, two, five, before the terms of said private viewing license are infringed?

If anyone has any sources where we could read further into the legality of these types of things, it would be interesting to look into.

I don't believe it would be considered public. IANAL but "According to the U.S. copyright law (Title 17, United States Code, Section 110), a public performance is any screening of a videocassette, DVD, videodisc or film which occurs outside of the home, or at any place where people are gathered who are not family members, such as in a school, library, auditorium, classroom or meeting room. " https://www.prattlibrary.org/research/tools/index.aspx?cat=1...

He's wrong. No one has, or ever will be prosecuted for renting a movie and watching it with their friends in their living room.

Claiming that something is illegal, and pointing out that no-one has been prosecuted for it, are not contradictory.

It is pretty pointless though!

As far as i know (form my college days in mid-2000s), we had this issue for setting up movie nights. Some people claimed that rented videos had an agreed-upon audience of (i think) 8 people. So to accommodate, let's say 100 people, we had to rent about 12 of the same videos.

Of course, we were in college and laughed and said screw it and just rented the one DVD.

But I never went back to check up on this.

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact