Ryan Jorgensen – Jorgo/Shutterstock
Wavelength sounds like an interesting idea — a Web service that lets friends watch Hollywood movies their other friends own, without having to pay a penny. Unless you make or sell Hollywood movies, in which case it might sound like a bad idea.
Someone has apparently conveyed that sentiment to Wavelength founder Spencer Wang, who has hit “pause” on his new service, less than two weeks after launching.
“We are for the time being closing the wavelength.io beta as we speak with key industry constituents to showcase that wavelength.io is a great thing for consumers and the film business,” says a message that went up on the site on Monday. “We feel this is the right move in order to build a sustainable and awesome service for you. We hope to be back soon.”
Wavelength is supposed to let users stream the movies their friends own, as long as they’ve bought them using UltraViolet, the system Hollywood studios set up to encourage home movie sales.
Wang, a former Wall Street media analyst, has argued that his system would help spur flagging home video sales. But it’s easy to see how the movie guys, and the people who help them distribute and sell their product, might think otherwise.
In fact, Wang already expected Hollywood to make his service harder to use by changing the UltraViolet terms of service that lets multiple people watch a single movie. But he figured that would happen next month; his plan was to spend the next few weeks rounding up users so he could make his case to Hollywood with a little bit of leverage.
I’ve asked Wang for comment. Here’s the full text of the message that logged-in users can see:
One of our goals in launching the wavelength.io beta was bringing to market legal movie sharing, wrapped around a great UltraViolet experience. We are incredibly humbled by the outpouring of interest and goodwill from everybody.
Not surprisingly, what we have built has been controversial. We are for the time being closing the wavelength.io beta as we speak with key industry constituents to showcase that wavelength.io is a great thing for consumers and the film business. We feel this is the right move in order to build a sustainable and awesome service for you. We hope to be back soon.
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