news realnetworks dvd backup software ruled illegal
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RealNetworks’ DVD backup software ruled illegal

RealNetworks fought the movie industry, and the movie industry won. According to the Associated Press, a federal judge has upheld an injunction barring sales of the firm’s RealDVD software on the grounds that it breaks copyright law.

Not just any federal judge, either. U.S. District Court Judge Marilyn Hall Patel just happens to be the same judge who shut down the Napster file-sharing service nine years ago. In her latest ruling, she reportedly says RealDVD "violates federal anti-piracy law and also goes against a contract RealNetworks signed to gain keys to unscramble DVDs."

Released on September 30, 2008 for $29.99, RealDVD let users copy movies to their hard drives for on-demand playback. RealNetworks claims this falls under the fair-use doctrine, and it notes that the software neither breaks copy protection nor allows users to distribute their backups. Movie studios, on the other hand, claim they have "the legal right to retain complete control over how content they’ve created is distributed."

As the AP points out, studios are also particularly uncomfortable with the practice of renting, ripping, and returning DVDs, which software like RealDVD facilitates.

The original injunction barring sales of the software came on October 3, 2008, and it will hold "until the case is resolved." Reporteldy, Judge Patel believes "the movie industry is likely to prevail in its legal battle with RealNetworks."

0 responses to “RealNetworks’ DVD backup software ruled illegal

  1. No, it’s all about control. they say, _[<"Movie studios, on the other hand, claim they have "the legal right to retain complete control over how content they've created is distributed."<]_ So what it seems that they(movie studios) are saying is that when you purchase a DVD with your hard earned cash it really not yours. Unfortunately they have the complete backing of our new socialist government.

  2. “And then when the DRM servers shutdown because X company goes out of business, we have to buy the media again from another company with the even more current DRM.”

    This exact thing has already happened to me. I have the Terminator 2 Extreme DVD, which includes an HD version of the movie in wmv format. You can’t play the file without a license handshake with the company’s server… and the server is down at this point, permanently. So the HD content I paid for was stolen back from me. What a bunch of BS.

  3. You serious?! I’m glad it didn’t kill the computer industry… It could have.

  4. There was actually a similar lawsuit early on in the history of computers. Because technically you are making a copy of a program by running it. You’re copying the program from whatever media on which it originally exists into RAM to be executed.

    This may seem ludicrous today but it was once a serious legal issue.

  5. Agreed, it is like they are saying: “Let’s drive people to pirate our stuff, as we don’t get enough of that. Then we can sue everyone and make more money instead of making good movies as no one wants to watch them anymore except for pirates”.

  6. I agree too. This is movie industry hating the fact that they can’t completely control every aspect of our media experience. If we want digital media, we can’t convert our old VHS and DVDs, we have to rebuy the movie/show/etc in a digital format with all the current DRM. And then when the DRM servers shutdown because X company goes out of business, we have to buy the media again from another company with the even more current DRM.

    This is wrong, maybe even morally wrong (i.e. they are stealing from us rather than the other way around).

  7. I think that these options, while easy enough for TR reader to use, seem impenetrably complex to “average Joe” users. I know plenty of people who are smart generally but who would never even remotely consider using these types of tools. I have several coworkers who react with uncomprehending amazement when I tell them about the various ways I can get TV shows and movies onto my iPhone without paying for it through the iTunes store. They don’t even ask how to do it themselves — they just see it as an unattainable incomprehensible thing that super nerdy tech people do.

    Basically there are about 99 of those types of people for every 1 of us. The MPAA guys will grudgingly tolerate our existence. But anything that might make these tools as accessible to the other 99% as they are to us makes them crazy. for example, if the functionality of handbrake were incorporated into iTunes you can bet the MPAA people would send suicide bombers to Cupertino.

  8. They won’t be satisfied until they can DRM our eyes and ears. Didn’t pay for it? you won’t see or hear it!

  9. Agreed. And by their logic, they should also sue Microsoft along with every computer manufacturer for building the tools that allow this software to run. Stupid.

  10. Short term effects: kills one program, wastes a lot of money to get it shut down, and 15 take its place.

    Long term effects: So much software is produced under the radar and above the radar that it wastes everyone’s time to even bother. Laws start to impact legit economic opportunity. Innovation suffers at the commercial level.

    Digging their own grave, and they don’t even see itg{<.<}g

  11. This is the dumbasses shooting themselves in the foot.

    Option 1: Make an arrangement with Real Networks, let RealDVD sell, and get a cut of every sale.

    Option 2: Force RealDVD off the market, and watch as the “thieves” just find another, free, program to do the same thing.

    People are going to do what they want. Adapt or follow the dodo bird.

  12. Everything is digital and has been for a long time. It doesn’t stop anyone. It just makes it easier. :p

    They’ll never be able to control things. For every company that develops some way to attempt to do so, there’s a bazillion people waiting to disable it.

  13. “As the AP points out, studios are also particularly uncomfortable with the practice of renting, ripping, and returning DVDs, which software like RealDVD facilitates.”

    LOL! This is funny! This is like saying, guns kill people and not people kill people. Every software (and movies) that I know puts out a warning not to make any duplicates or whatever. It is up to the people to do it or not. To sue RealDVD for what people do, IMHO is going overboard. They should sue all the gun companies of every person that gets killed by a gun.

    Something is not kosher here…

  14. Their going after Redbox is puzzling since renting a DVD is obviously covered under the First-sale Doctrine.

    Well, I guess it isn’t really puzzling. They’re greedy.

  15. I highly doubt that they’ll be able to “control” media. People will always find ways to make copies of their media. These companies that try to “control” media only end up supporting piracy in the end by creating their ludicrous restrictions.

  16. I’m not sure what Netflix’s agreement with the studios is, but I *do* know that the RedBox (or whatever their name is) is under the gun for it’s $1 rentals and $7 buy backs (minus Sony, they ordered a destruction of their previous dvds).

    Rental is “the future” and these groups need to get their butts in gear.

  17. So they are trying to get around the fair use doctrine by saying, “You can rip our DVDs but you cannot encode them into a different format for playback?”

    that sound right?

  18. “As the AP points out, studios are also particularly uncomfortable with the practice of renting, ripping, and returning DVDs, which software like RealDVD facilitates.”

    RealDVD? oh come on! I can name over a hundred (better) programs that do the same and more! I guess Netflix is next on the MPAA’s hit list, or any other streaming movie rental company for that matter.

  19. There’s plenty of free or open-source libraries to do exactly this but with even less protection against infringement. Removing the legal and accountable alternatives will lead people to that.