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Judge Rules Against RealDVD

11 Aug, 2009 By: Erik Gruenwedel

A federal judge in San Francisco has sided with Hollywood studios and ruled against RealNetworks’ DVD-copying software, saying RealDVD allows users to engage in copyright infringement.

U.S. District Court Marilyn Patel, in an order issued late Aug. 11, wrote that RealDVD “circumvents a technological measure that effectively controls access to or copying of the studios’ copyrighted content on DVDs.”

Patel’s order effectively bars RealNetworks from selling RealDVD in any form, including its Facet DVD player that can create and store DVD copies.

Dan Glickman, chairman and CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America, said he was “very pleased” by the ruling.

“This is a victory for the creators and producers of motion pictures and television shows and for the rule of law in our digital economy,” Glickman said in a statement. “Judge Patel’s ruling affirms what we have known all along: RealNetworks took a license to build a DVD player and instead made an illegal DVD copier.”

Seattle-based RealNetworks, in a statement, said it was “disappointed” by the ruling. It wasn’t immediately clear if it would appeal the ruling or request a jury trial. To date, litigation surrounding the case has cost Real more than $6 million.

RealNetworks last year filed a preemptive lawsuit against the major studios and the DVD Copy Control Association, seeking court approval for its $30 RealDVD software.

The studios in turn sought a temporary injunction, which was granted by Patel shortly after RealDVD went on sale in early October. The software allowed users to make a digital file copy of a commercial DVD movie and save that data on up to four PCs.

The studios had argued that RealDVD couldn’t differentiate between a rented or purchased DVD, thereby opening the door for “rent, rip and return” abuses.


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