eBay crack down on Ultraviolet codes
If you've bought a film in a physical format lately, you may have got an Ultraviolet code with it. If you don't know what that is, it basically allows users to watch your movie on any device away from your DVD/Blu Ray player.
Ultraviolet - which is owned by Sony, Universal, Paramount, Warner Brothers and 20th Century Fox - has been a handy for some, and performance-wise, a disappointment to others.
It has been profitable for some, with people selling their Ultraviolet codes on eBay. One user who has been doing this has been accused of copyright infringement. Whenever they bought a new film, they'd flog their unused code and people would buy them for around $6.
The studios aren't happy, unsurprisingly.
Here’s what the eBay user said: "I picked up “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol” on Blu-ray this morning. It came with a digital download code good for a free Ultraviolet copy of the movie. As Ultraviolet is worthless to me, I listed the code on eBay. Within a few hours of the listing going up, eBay took it down for copyright infringement. They warned me not to list it again, or my account would be suspended."
"I called their customer service number to explain that the listing was taken down in error, and the helpful lady on the phone was much more concerned with the fact that there was no birth date attached to an 11-year-old eBay account. Once we got that taken care of (she literally refused to help me until I tied my birthday to my account), she basically just kept reading and rereading the email to me over and over again."
"Now, let’s forget the fact that I've sold Ultraviolet codes on eBay before. Let’s also forget the fact that, right this very second, there are a boat-load (metaphorically, not literally – that would be weird) of Ultraviolet code auctions live. How, exactly, are they able to claim Ultraviolet codes as copyright infringement? It’s a product. It’s barely different from me selling a physical copy of the Blu-ray that I don’t want, or the third disc in the set which is a DVD copy I’ll never use. And why are they enforcing this imaginary policy selectively?"
"Is this an awful lot of trouble to go through just to make, at most, $5? Yes, it is. However, I’m self employed, and today is a slow day."
Officially speaking, it seems that you would have to sell the physical copy alongside the UV code, if you want to stay out of trouble with the movie studios.
There's also a chance that those buying the codes could be chased for copyright infringement too. While this might seem like a remarkable waste of everyone's time and a bit daft, let us not forget who we are dealing with here - movie studios, who are almost entirely made up of daft people with remarkable amounts of time to waste.
If you're selling yours, watch your back.