MovieSwap is a French start-up that aims to make use of the world’s existing stock of DVDs – around 25 billion, to date. The company has launched (and successfully funded) a Kickstarter campaign to create a ‘universal movie library’. MovieSwap will collect DVDs from all over the world; register them on behalf of their owners; upload them to the cloud; store the discs in warehouses; and allow them to be played back on any device (tablets, PCs, Macs or TVs using a special HDMI stick), using the VLC media player.
MovieSwap says that its approach is fully legal, combining the legal concepts of first sales doctrine (a person who buys a legally produced copyrighted work may sell or otherwise dispose of it as they see fit) and fair use. If streaming the DVD to the original owner is not legally considered a new form of publication (which would mean paying copyright), then the system could be successful. (TA)