Wednesday, October 1, 2008

RealNetworks and Movie Studios In Legal Fight Over DVD Copying Software

RealNetworks (NSDQ: RNWK) has filed a pre-emptive lawsuit against major studios, in an attempt to ward off any attempts to stop the launch of its DVD ripping software RealDVD, which launched in open today after a closed beta. The lawsuit asks the court to rule that RealNetworks Home Entertainment, Inc.’s RealDVD software, made available to consumers today at, fully complies with the DVD Copy Control Association’s license agreement. The software allows Windows users to easily make a digital copy of an entire DVD, along with all the extras on it, with the idea to allow users to make backup copies for their personal use on laptops. Real has been saying that this is licensed DVD software that saves a secure copy of the DVD to user’s hard drive, with the CSS encryption intact, which means normal piracy/sharing of this video will not be easy. Users will be able to view the ripped DVD on one computer and four others, as long as they download and pay for the software (less money: $20 for those four licenses) on those five others and have the same login. It does not work on Blu-Ray or HD DVD. All of this, Real maintains, should have been enough to placate the studios, and says, rather cleverly, that it “took this legal action to protect consumers’ ability to exercise their fair-use rights for their purchased DVD.”

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