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post #1 of 21 Old 04-01-2015, 08:40 PM - Thread Starter
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Lightbulb Crowd-sourced Blu-ray/DVD rentals?

Hi all!

Haven't posted here or been around too much since kinda Erin Brockovich'ing Denon years ago... Cross-posting this here and the Blu-ray.com forum.

I wanted to gauge interest and get your feedback about this idea I've had, to crowd-source disc rentals, in a different way than any previous attempt (although it may seem similar at first glance).

Obviously we, as tech enthusiasts, have a huge problem of not being able to rent the discs we want. I'm sure I'm not the only one that feels like there's almost literally no way to get anything I want to see -- just a few Blu-rays from Redbox that actually come with lossless audio! (But still stripped of extras.)

It's astounding that the physical rental industry has ended up in such a sad state! Neutered, ruined stuff from Netflix and Redbox, Netflix's ripoff pricing (extra BD fee, or if you only rent an occasional disc for the monthly fee). 3D Blu-ray Rental's service is too expensive, plus no DVDs (if no Blu exists).

Of course 3D releases are another problem with Netflix and Redbox, not to mention when 4K arrives, which will certainly be more in-demand than 3D, and... surely unavailable from Netflix and Redbox.


OK, so what about a service that's as close as possible to what we were used to with Blockbuster/Netflix by mail? The difference being that behind-the-scenes, the discs are sourced from users that own them, as transparently as possible. NOT trading/swapping (very, very flawed and cannot work in the rental realm), just straight-up rentals that everyone is familiar with. And very competitive pricing with Netflix and Redbox -- or better!

The sharing reward? "Seeders" supplying discs would be paid most of the money (nice payouts, I think). This would happen continuously as long as they're sharing, and they ultimately get the discs back (or any time they want). Of course fully insured so don't have to worry about anything being lost or damaged.

I realize people here would be more reluctant to give out their discs than the general population, which is fine (you could be a pure taker, without sharing). But it would be cool for your collection to pay for itself partially instead of just sitting around -- you could always share your unused DVD copy from the Blu-ray combo packs.

New releases with high-demand? I'd want this to be handled, although I think the system would help this happen organically...


Please give your comments, questions, etc. Thanks!
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post #2 of 21 Old 04-02-2015, 08:59 AM
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I just buy discs. The cost of renting a disc is a waste of money since I can usually buy a title for $8 or less when it hits the bins.
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post #3 of 21 Old 04-02-2015, 12:59 PM
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The thing the rental companies found out is that most of the rental demand are for new releases in the first couple of weeks after release date. A service like this would probably work better for deeper catalog fare that doesn't have such a demand spike.

I would suggest television shows are one specific niche this scenario might be able to service, though the window is getting smaller as more and more content gets shifted to streaming video. Television on Blu-ray is expensive by comparison and one viewing is often enough. I would like to see Outlander on Blu-ray but have little interest in paying over $30 for 8 episodes. That is a set I might rent, if I could.
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post #4 of 21 Old 04-03-2015, 05:59 AM
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What type of deal are you going to cut with the content owners that will allow you to legally rent the discs? What about liability / disc theft protection?

Serenity now!
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post #5 of 21 Old 04-03-2015, 07:30 AM - Thread Starter
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PooperScooper (great name ), when someone owns discs, they can do anything they want with them (loan, rent...). Nothing for me to do there, nor for would-be users, thanks to first-sale doctrine.

I made sure it was legit... awhile ago , so I'm way past that, with the logistics of everything, etc. But I realize the need to educate users, "Yes, it's fine!" There's even some confusion with lawyers out there, saying it's not allowed, which is completely wrong! I don't think it could be more clear cut.


Liability for loss of any sort you mean? Like I said in the first post, users would be fully insured and don't need to worry about loss or damage. Meaning you'll get it replaced if anything happens (in addition to getting paid for sharing). Of course stuff will happen, so deal with it to make sure things are all right.

That's mostly for damage. As far as outright theft, a deposit would be involved (think around a Blockbuster/Netflix monthly payment), as well as mail tracking to keep things in check. That's in the US only, which is what I'm talking about. It'd be nice to include Canada (mainly) or Australia, but I don't see ANY way track stuff like here (seemingly simple and no cost to boot).


Hope that helps. Back later to reply to the other post(s)...
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post #6 of 21 Old 04-03-2015, 12:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DR_LaRRY_PEpPeR View Post
PooperScooper (great name ), when someone owns discs, they can do anything they want with them (loan, rent...). Nothing for me to do there, nor for would-be users, thanks to first-sale doctrine.

I made sure it was legit... awhile ago , so I'm way past that, with the logistics of everything, etc. But I realize the need to educate users, "Yes, it's fine!" There's even some confusion with lawyers out there, saying it's not allowed, which is completely wrong! I don't think it could be more clear cut.


Liability for loss of any sort you mean? Like I said in the first post, users would be fully insured and don't need to worry about loss or damage. Meaning you'll get it replaced if anything happens (in addition to getting paid for sharing). Of course stuff will happen, so deal with it to make sure things are all right.

That's mostly for damage. As far as outright theft, a deposit would be involved (think around a Blockbuster/Netflix monthly payment), as well as mail tracking to keep things in check. That's in the US only, which is what I'm talking about. It'd be nice to include Canada (mainly) or Australia, but I don't see ANY way track stuff like here (seemingly simple and no cost to boot).


Hope that helps. Back later to reply to the other post(s)...
I would have thought that some "fine print" other than just copyright on discs would prevent it, but I guess not. However, as someone pointed out when I did some googling, what if you get sued? How much of the rental fee goes to overhead? Or is each supplier a distributor? (which has it's on set of issues). With postage costs, how much do you think the rental fee will be?

larry

Serenity now!

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post #7 of 21 Old 04-03-2015, 01:56 PM
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I think you might want to talk to a copyright lawyer. First-sale doctrine applies to selling, not renting, and/or making a profit. When you buy a disc, you are not the owner of the movie. The studios still own the movie. You are only entitled to fair-use.

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post #8 of 21 Old 04-03-2015, 06:39 PM
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My understanding is that rental companies like Netflix sign agreements with the studios because that is the only feasible way they can acquire enough new release stock. Redbox ended up going around the studios by purchasing retail copies since the studios didn't want their content devalued that quickly. I believe renting out retail discs is perfectly legal without the express permission of the film's copyright owners.

Another catalog I would focus on is Criterion, much of their catalog is locked to physical media and renting their BDs makes more sense than repeated blind buys.
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post #9 of 21 Old 04-05-2015, 08:17 AM
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I can't imagine the details of this, but I think this could work at a local level, e.g. - everyone interested in a zip code or neighborhood could put their name in a hat with a listing of the BRs that they're willing to rent out. Could also identify rental amount, time period, etc. If it is limited to local, could eliminate requirement to ship via mail and possible handling damage (not to mention minimize cost).
The kicker here is "loss or damage." Let's say I rent out my copy of the Star Wars six-pack (or one of the movies) and the renter loses or damages the disc. What then? Obviously the idea is that everyone is a "videophile" and takes TLC of the discs - but accidents happen. What recourse does the person renting out the BR/DVD have if the renter doesn't return it in a timely manner and refuses to respond to e-mails, telephone calls, etc.? I suppose the disc could be rented with a "deposit" which would be refunded if the disc is returned in good condition. (e.g. - Star Wars I, from the BR box set, could be rented for 5 days for $3.99, with an $80 deposit to cover the cost if the disc is destroyed and the BR box set needs to be repurchased.) This doesn't even begin to cover the issues of the renter saying he put this disc in the mail in pristine condition and then having the disc arrive back broken - evidently by the USPS.
Another option might be to "franchise" this service so that people could sign up for it. These people would be the "seeders" or "disc landlords" if you will, that would rent the discs out, and presumably there would be some sort of "insurance" which would cover these people if the discs were lost or damaged.
Bottom line, I think this is a great idea, but as with everything, the "devil is in the details" and those details have to be worked out. Could be a decent retirement gig for me (when I retire in a few years). Hopefully this concept or something like it will come to fruition.
For a good current service, 3D BR is a great resource and for a by-mail rental service I would recommend them. The only reservation for me is that they are in CA and I am in GA, discs typically take 1 week to get to me (and back to 3D BR), meaning that USPS has these discs in their possession much longer than I typically do. I wish they would open up an East Coast distribution location.
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post #10 of 21 Old 04-06-2015, 09:24 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LexInVA View Post
I just buy discs. The cost of renting a disc is a waste of money since I can usually buy a title for $8 or less when it hits the bins.
OK, so you're not a renter then... Of course you (or any buy-heavy person) could supply discs and make part (or all) of your money back. Balances out rent-heavy people like me, who'd hardly ever buy anything.

But I don't see how renting is "a waste of money" (quite the opposite!). Takes a looooong time to get down to $8 or whatever to buy, when you could rent it for half that while it's still new...
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post #11 of 21 Old 04-06-2015, 09:54 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Phantom Stranger View Post
The thing the rental companies found out is that most of the rental demand are for new releases in the first couple of weeks after release date. A service like this would probably work better for deeper catalog fare that doesn't have such a demand spike.
Yeah, rental (or buying) demand is highest among a relatively low number of titles, with a long tail.

BTW, Redbox volume is around 3 times more than Netflix (~60 vs ~20 million discs/month), even though they have a tiny fraction of Netflix's catalog. That's not ALL because of the new release demand being that extreme, though that's obviously their market. Redbox also has more unique users, which also tells me that people who MIGHT use Netflix won't if they're renting sporadically, or just a couple discs a month, but paying almost $10 minimum.


Obviously the deep catalog, like Netflix by mail, wouldn't be an issue (greater supply than demand).

But I'm not sure the new release demand would be as much of an issue as one might think... First, the new release BUY rate is also high, so availability should increase proportionally.

Then once buyers have watched, the incentive is high to share, because with less supply, a disc will go to more people, and stay out for a longer time, and therefore they get more money from it.

Finally, I figured I could also buy several copies myself of high-demand stuff (anyone could, really) to help seed the system.

Remember also that just because a large number of people may have requested a disc in their queue, that doesn't mean they all have it at the TOP, etc., or that they can actually accept it at a given time (e.g. already have 3 discs, or whatever their max amount is).

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I would suggest television shows are one specific niche this scenario might be able to service, though the window is getting smaller as more and more content gets shifted to streaming video. Television on Blu-ray is expensive by comparison and one viewing is often enough. I would like to see Outlander on Blu-ray but have little interest in paying over $30 for 8 episodes. That is a set I might rent, if I could.
Yep, TV stuff is a killer (for low availability currently). And high-priced as you said.

For senders, they would get paid for each disc they send (2, 3, 6, ...) of TV seasons or anything else. So that helps "proportionally" to get back more money from those more expensive, multi-disc sets.


Does Netflix not have Outlander BDs? Or maybe you just don't care to use Netflix (like me). Just wondering how many Blu-ray releases they're ignoring (despite the extra fee)!

Last edited by DR_LaRRY_PEpPeR; 04-06-2015 at 10:05 AM.
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post #12 of 21 Old 04-06-2015, 10:39 AM
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Originally Posted by DR_LaRRY_PEpPeR View Post
Takes a looooong time to get down to $8 or whatever to buy, when you could rent it for half that while it's still new...

You would incorrect. Many titles hit bargain bin prices within a year. I've bought "new" films at Walmart, Big Lots, Best Buy, and other places for amounts well under their debut prices. Walmart in particular, is a great source of new films in their bargain bins and they have many multi-film exclusive packs for $15 or less. That's how I built a collection of over 1000 titles in a few years.
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post #13 of 21 Old 04-06-2015, 10:56 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by PooperScooper View Post
I would have thought that some "fine print" other than just copyright on discs would prevent it, but I guess not. However, as someone pointed out when I did some googling, what if you get sued?
That might have been the same "get sued" post I saw somewhere back when I was Googling. But that's really not a concern at all for me. 3D Blu-ray Rental is already doing this exact thing, and other things are kinda close.

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How much of the rental fee goes to overhead?
Hopefully enough! I planned to set aside X amount per disc to have enough extra every N discs to cover an estimated average replacement cost. Generous numbers, I hope (I've never really deviated from early figures there).

Of course new releases would cost more to replace, but also allow more to be set aside from them. That's because higher demand discs would be passed along to more people, which saves money (for the system) over sending them directly back to the owner (postage thing). If that makes sense...

Quote:
Or is each supplier a distributor? (which has it's on set of issues).
Not sure what you mean here...

Quote:
With postage costs, how much do you think the rental fee will be?
I could say exactly what I think the rental fee would be, but don't want to give specific details...

So let's say to have a disc for 5 days: less than half of what I see on 3D Blu-ray Rental's site. Or no more than what the average Redbox rental fee is.

That's "all in," including postage.

Of course you could keep stuff as long as you want. Past 5 days, you'd just pay a smaller fee per day/week/month/whatever. Less than $1/week.


If one rented 10 discs in a month, I'd like that to be comparable to 3-at-a-time Netflix (+tax). Fewer discs save money (only pay for what you use). The average Netflix user only rents ~4 discs a month...


I'm pretty satisfied with the numbers -- for renters, senders, and the system/myself -- and haven't felt a need to tweak them for a while now.
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post #14 of 21 Old 04-06-2015, 11:08 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by teachsac View Post
I think you might want to talk to a copyright lawyer. First-sale doctrine applies to selling, not renting, and/or making a profit. When you buy a disc, you are not the owner of the movie. The studios still own the movie. You are only entitled to fair-use.
Phantom Stranger was right.

Of course you don't own the rights to the movie itself. But you do own the rights to that physical copy of the movie (e.g. the disc)...

And the first part on Wikipedia for first-sale doctrine says, "enables ... video rentals."
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post #15 of 21 Old 04-06-2015, 11:53 AM
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There have also been several lawsuits since that came out. To rent video discs, you must have a distribution agreement with the studios. Redbox lost that one and had to enter the same agreement that NF has, including discs without lossless audio for those companies that do not provide lossless on rental discs, i.e. Lionsgate, and have the appropriate 28 day waiting period for those studios that have a waiting period, i.e. WB. If you're not charging a fee, you can pass your disc on. That's why I said you need to talk to an actual lawyer, and not google. Redbox also has a class-action suit regarding late fees. Not sure if that one has been settled.

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post #16 of 21 Old 04-06-2015, 12:10 PM - Thread Starter
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Since what "came out?" First-sale doctrine?

Since 3D Blu-ray Rental's service came out? They've been sued? I don't think so. They're simply buying retail discs and renting them out; nothing complicated. I think this was already discussed in the 3D Blu-ray Rental thread when it was new, with a few here here saying, "Oh noes!!1 They can't do that without licenses/agreements!!?"

Again, it's very clear that it's perfectly fine, and there really isn't anything to debate.


The only reason Redbox/Netflix agree to, well, agreements, is so they get a discount deal, that's all. They choose to, they don't have to!
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post #17 of 21 Old 04-06-2015, 01:25 PM
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I just talked to three different law professors that specialize in intellectual property. Here is what they said:

"If by rent you mean to charge a fee, then NO, you cannot do it, unless you purchase a license to rent movies." Patent/Copyright Attorney

"Generally no, If you purchase ordinary DVDs, such as Walmart, those are only licensed for personal, non-commercial use. Just as you cannot sell tickets to watch such a purchased movie, you cannot rent them either. Places like RedBox and Netflix have to pay a higher price for the DVDs they rent". Intellectual Property Law Attorney (Best answer)

"Not unless you purchased them directly from the publisher with a license to rent them".

Even though I am not a lawyer, I work with Fair Use Practices in my job all the time in my job. The people I just talked to are, and all 3 said the same thing.

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post #18 of 21 Old 04-06-2015, 02:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by teachsac View Post
"...Places like RedBox and Netflix have to pay a higher price for the DVDs they rent". Intellectual Property Law Attorney (Best answer)
That is not completely correct. Generally, RB and Netflix pay *less* if they've made a deal with the studio. Regular rental stores (the few that still survive) can buy their stock from distributors and there are no restrictions placed on the end use of those discs. Those stores can also sign deals with Rentrak (and similar) to source discs directly to them at a reduced price like RB/Netflix.

Note: I work for an independent video label and have worked in home video distribution since 1993.

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What if a group of friends from this forum simply agree to trade/swap blurays among themselves for no fee? I personally have about a thousand blurays and am about fed up with spending so much on each disc and would like to watch some of my dvd's or hd-dvds on my bluray player.
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post #20 of 21 Old 04-07-2015, 09:20 AM - Thread Starter
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There's nothing to worry about, guys. Hopefully we can keep this from being a "legality debate" for too long. Believe ME, there's nothing to debate, and the forum already went through this discussion about 3D Blu-ray Rental! People that have doubts, lets try to get up to speed.

I only checked the first 4 pages again, and just saw "oh noes" posts on the first 3 pages so far. Here's a couple amusing ones:

Quote:
Originally Posted by LVNeptune View Post
Just FYI, this is HIGHLY illegal. All games/movies/audio are not allowed to be "rented" out without proper licensing. Basically you must contact them and they charge you a fee per disc you rent out. That's how it ALWAYS has worked.

This site will get shut down, the excuse for the little mom and pop stores that do the same thing, unfortunately the law applies there as well.

The reason no companies are renting out 3D bluray discs is because the studios do NOT want them rented out.

If they did, Netflix, etc would be all over that

What laws are being violated as someone keeps posting? Not quite sure however it is against the EULA when you purchase the disc you will not rent it out, so at the very least you are violating the End-User License Agreement.
Wow, EULA?!

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Originally Posted by Ken H View Post
The point being if there was anything illegal, AVS would not allow this discussion on the forum.
Still going 4 years later...


Those so-called "law professors" sound pretty convincing, but we know that never necessarily means anything ("experts"). I would quote Katy Perry , and say, "Shut up and put your money where your mouth is." Sue 3D Blu-ray Rental and get it shut down, etc., if they think they're right. (I think anyone that even tried should lose their credentials.)

The bolded/"Best Answer" one has no credibility after stating "RedBox and Netflix have to pay a higher price." NO, as has already been stated (last by NJPete), it's a lower price if they have an agreement...


The first 2 paragraphs under Overview of first-sale doctrine explain everything (if one has basic reading comprehension).

The only exception for (against) rentals is "musical works."

The copyright holder (studio) has ZERO control over renting discs otherwise.
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You want feedback here it is - it is absolutely not worth my time to dick around for a few dollars to rent somebody my Blu Ray. This concept could make money for the founder perhaps, if it scales. But there is zero demand from me for a service like this. Blu Rays are cheap - not worth the time involved to rent them. Maybe for others it is.
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