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Lawyer: Failure to Lift TRO would be ‘Death Knell’ to RealDVD

27 Apr, 2009 By: Erik Gruenwedel

A lawyer representing RealNetworks in its DVD copying software litigation against Hollywood studios and DVD Copy Control Association told a judge April 24 that failure to lift a temporary restraining order against RealDVD would result in the “death knell” for the software.

The following court proceedings were outlined in an online report by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a San Francisco-based civil liberties organization.

RealNetworks last September filed a preemptive federal lawsuit against the studios seeking court approval for the software. The studios, in turn, filed a countersuit in Los Angeles seeking a temporary injunction, which they obtained.

The studios say that despite a CCA license, RealDVD’s Content Scrambling System (CSS) DRM cannot differentiate a store-bought movie DVD from a rental DVD, thereby opening the door to a practice called “rent, rip and return.”

Real said its software has additional encryption safeguards ("30 septillion times harder to break") to prevent against the copying of rental DVDs.

Last Friday both parties before federal judge Marilyn Hall-Patel in U.S. District Court in San Francisco argued the merits of their cases. Real said its software allowed consumers to legitimately make digital copies of legally purchased DVD movies.

“If someone wants to make a copy of something they own, do they have to pay the studios again?” said Real’s lawyer.

The attorney added that failure to lift the TRO would irreparably damage RealDVD.

“But doesn’t copyright give the right to exclude?” asked Patel, who did not lift the TRO.

The studios said the Fair Use doctrine, which allows consumers to sell legitimately copyrighted material, does not preclude them the right to be compensated for every copy made of copyrighted content.

“DVD-CCA doesn’t license copying,” said a lawyer representing DVD-CCA.

With an off day April 27, studios and RealNetworks return April 28 to the second day in the three-day hearing.

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