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MPAA: RealNetworks ‘Destroyed’ RealDVD Data

By Erik Gruenwedel | Posted: 06 Mar 2009

The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) said RealNetworks has deliberately stonewalled evidence gathering and destroyed documents vital to an ongoing copyright infringement lawsuit against the software company’s RealDVD program.

RealDVD allows users to burn copy-protected DVD movies, including anti-piracy controls, to a PC.

In a Feb. 25 court filing, the MPAA said attempts to track down information about RealDVD had proved challenging, with computer files and notebooks containing the data “nowhere to be found.”

“The evidence here is that Real actively destroyed documents," the MPAA said in the filing. “This leads to a presumption of bad faith.”

RealNetworks countered March 2 saying it had maintained records of all documents relevant to the case, which it said totaled more than 240,000 pages to date.

The Seattle-based software company Sept. 30, 2008, filed a preemptive federal lawsuit in San Francisco against the major studios and DVD Copy Control Association seeking court approval for RealDVD. The studios, in turn, filed a countersuit in Los Angeles seeking a temporary injunction, which they received Oct. 8.

The studios said that despite a CCA license, RealDVD’s digital rights management (DRM) safeguard could not 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 had appropriate encryption safeguards to prevent against the copying of rental DVDs.

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