Judge rules against RealNetworks DVD duplication software

According to a report from the Associated Press, a federal judge has barred RealNetworks Inc. from selling a product that would allow consumers to copy DVDs to their hard drives, pending a full trial.

Walt Disney, Sony, and Universal Studios, among others filed suit against the Seattle-based company in 2008, claiming that its RealDVD product would harbor illegal pirating. The Hollywood studios allege that RealDVD would keep consumers from paying the retail price for movies on DVD discs which could easily be rented at low cost, copied, and then returned.

RealNetworks has said that its product legally meets a growing consumer interest in creating copies of their DVDs for convenient storage and viewing, and their lawyers have argued that RealDVD is equipped with anti-piracy features that limit a consumer to making only a single copy. They also said that the device provides consumers with a legitimate way to back up copies of movies that have been legally purchased.

U.S. District Court Judge Marilyn Hall Patel ruled in favour of the movie studios in granting a preliminary injunction against the RealDVD product, declaring that the technology would allow consumers who rent and purchase DVDs to violate copyright laws.

In a 58-page document, Patel stated that RealNetworks failed to show that the RealDVD software is to be used by consumers primarily for legitimate purposes.

"The court appreciates Real's argument that a consumer has a right to make a backup copy of a DVD for their own personal use," Patel wrote, but noted that "a federal law has nonetheless made it illegal to manufacture or traffic in a device or tool that permits a consumer to make such copies."

Dan Glickman, chairman and CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America Inc., said in a written statement on Tuesday that the ruling "affirms what we have known all along: RealNetworks took a license to build a DVD-player and instead made an illegal DVD-copier. 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."

A spokesperson for RealNetworks said the company is "disappointed" in the decision. "We have just received the Judge's detailed ruling and are reviewing it," the company said in a statement. "After we have done so fully, we'll determine our course of action and will have more to say at that time."

RealDVD was available for a few short days in 2008 before Patel temporarily barred sales of the product, because it appeared that the software violated federal law against digital piracy. A date has not yet been set for the trial in the case.

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The judge must have been paid off. It's the only reason anyone would make such a stupid moron decision like this. The only way this crap will end is when ALL the people band together AGAINST these organizations and tear them down together.

DJ Specs said,
The judge must have been paid off. It's the only reason anyone would make such a stupid moron decision like this. The only way this crap will end is when ALL the people band together AGAINST these organizations and tear them down together.

So lets do it.. we have too many separate anti-dmca groups, we need to put everyone under the same banner,

I'm not a fan of Real, but I think this is ridiculous. Since when did companies become responsible for what users may do with their products when that action varies from the products intended purpose? Not a good ruling, or precedent IMO...

Hmmm so by the judges own words it's perfectly legal for someone to make a back-up copy of a DVD they own but totaly ilegal to make and or provide anyone with a means to do so pffft that is just so stupid it defies logic

Atlonite said,
Hmmm so by the judges own words it's perfectly legal for someone to make a back-up copy of a DVD they own but totaly ilegal to make and or provide anyone with a means to do so pffft that is just so stupid it defies logic

ROFL, indeed... Coming or going, they always get you one way...

I read through the transcripts for the DMCA exception arguments that the MPAA attempted to counter with the notion of 'video taping a computer screen' as the only means to attain a fair-use copy of protected content. Isn't this concept eventually defeated as we move towards cameras that have the ability to detect copy protected content? The direction the MPAA is going to 'eliminate the analog hole' includes camcorders and much like VCRs, camcorders will soon honor the very similar "Copy Never, etc" flags that are placed in content by means of a visual watermark. Their other claim that you may use 'screengrabber' software is also nullified by the restrictions imposed by dvd playback software as well as technologies such as the "Protected Media Path" present in Windows Vista and Windows 7. The MPAA said themselves that "if there is another way to copy the content without decryption then it should be used instead" but they lobby to close the very 'holes' they tell us to use. The DMCA appears to be an 'iron clad' case against any 'fair use' of copy protected content. This absurdness is attributeed

We all understand that the penalty for copyright infringement is severe (22k awarded for individual songs in the latest case as an example) so why do we need another law that does nothing more then make criminals of normal people who would otherwise be trying to express their fair-use rights? Distributing copyrighted content without consent of the copyright holder is already against the law and all the copy protection restrictions are not slowing down the trafficking of copyrighted content. Those who traffic content simply ignore this law and bypass these 'digital locks' on content with ease. When it comes to consumer benefit, the restrictions imposed on commercial content (DVDs, Blu-Ray, iTunes Video files etc) make it a less desirable alternative to even the paid-for bootleg content that does not impose limitations on how you can use the content after you purchase it. An average user would have to violate the DMCA to do something simple such as copy an episode of their favorite tv show off a dvd for use on his ipod verses buy a version of the digital content that has no restrictions (no digital locks) and be able to transfer the content to a different medium (such as the ipod).

I am no law professor but I understand the basis of copyright law and it permits the creation of a backup for archival purposes. If the 'fair use copy' exceptions are not amended to the DMCA and Real looses its case with the MPAA in regards to their REALDVD software (which indecently the case should be thrown out due to the previous case with the 10k jukebox company). Cant someone sue the Courts, MPAA, and even the Judge in the RealDVD case for ignoring the consumer side of copyright law?

The software itself is designed for a completely legal purpose - for DVD owners to duplicate a disc for their own purposes. The problem is a vast majority of people will use it illegally, either to duplicate and keep DVDs they don't own and/or to distribute/sell/give away copies illegally.

"The court appreciates Real's argument that a consumer has a right to make a backup copy of a DVD for their own personal use," Patel wrote, but noted that "a federal law has nonetheless made it illegal to manufacture or traffic in a device or tool that permits a consumer to make such copies."

This is stupid.

So consumers have the right to copy DVDs for personal use (HTPC). But the softwares used to do so are illegal. Hum ...

A lot of people don't realize that Real was working on a set top box that allowed you to pop in your movie and it used this to basically image the disc to the internal storage device, very much akin to a jukebox basically. Kaleidescape has a mucho expensive product that does exactly that -- they got sued as well but ended up winning, can't remember why.

This has gone far enough:
--
"The court appreciates Real's argument that a consumer has a right to make a backup copy of a DVD for their own personal use," Patel wrote, but noted that "a federal law has nonetheless made it illegal to manufacture or traffic in a device or tool that permits a consumer to make such copies."
--
This is the basis for slamming the MPAA and even this Judge with a lawsuit for acknowledge the 'right' to have a backup of a DVD but then eliminating the ways of doing so. The ONLY way to backup a DVD is via decryption and the MPAA will never give us any other option short of 'video taping the screen'. 98.99% of Americans are not FOR the DMCA. We need to ban together and collectively sue everyone who PUSHED the DMCA for violating OUR rights under the consumer side of copyright law. I doubt that there is a single american who does not work for the movie companies who would not join the fight agansed the DMCA. Most people don't even know what the DMCA is; Inform the UNinformed about how the DMCA makes it illegal for you to create a backup copy of content that you have the legal right to create.

Most of the UNinformed really don't care, they just shrug it off, bend over and pay the retail prices for films etc.
They don't care about nor do they know how to produce a backup copy of a DVD, "why would I want to do that, what a waste of time".

Smashing Pumpkin said,
Most of the UNinformed really don't care, they just shrug it off, bend over and pay the retail prices for films etc.
They don't care about nor do they know how to produce a backup copy of a DVD, "why would I want to do that, what a waste of time".

The DMCA issues run deeper then DVD copying, the issue is being able to do as you please (without trafficking content) with purchased content.

As long as I have hated RealNetwork's RealPlayer (all the problems it caused to customer computers), if they indeed provide a way of limiting the user to make only one copy, I think they doing nothing wrong.

Also, I thought that there was a law (or was it a common thing taken for granted?) about "fair use". If there is, then this software does provide the user to exercise such right.

There is already software to make copies of DVD's and a lot of people do rent movies to copy them.

ajua said,
Also, I thought that there was a law (or was it a common thing taken for granted?) about "fair use". If there is, then this software does provide the user to exercise such right.


The DMCA usurped that right, in the US at least. That's what happens when corporations write your laws.

FloatingFatMan said,
The DMCA usurped that right, in the US at least. That's what happens when corporations write your laws.

Oh, I see. Too sad then.

omnicoder said,
We really need a new court and patent system >.>

Absolutely. One that doesn't extend patents to software whatsoever. It just doesn't work...

Not that I give a damn about Real or their software, but it'd be much less aggro for them to just drop the US market and sell this software in the EU, where we don't have stupid paid-for laws like the DMCA preventing you from exercising your statutory rights to backup your media.