August 12, 2009
| by Steve Crowe
A federal court has ruled that RealNetworks’ RealDVD software, which rips DVDs and stores copies on a hard drive, violates copyright laws and the CSS (content scramble system) license agreement with the DVD Copy Control Association (DVD CCA).
U.S. District Court Judge Marilyn Patel has upheld a preliminary injunction that bars RealNetworks from manufacturing and selling the $30 software. The ruling may also prevent RealNetworks’ Facet DVD player from being sold.
The movie studios argued that RealDVD violates federal laws by encouraging consumers to “rent, rip and return” rather than buying DVDs. RealNetworks claimed consumers have a fundamental right to copy DVDs for safer and more convenient storage, adding that the RealDVD software contains piracy protections that limit consumers to just one copy.
“We are disappointed that a preliminary injunction has been placed on the sale of RealDVD,” RealNetworks writes in a statement.
Patel was the judge who shut down Napster in 2000 because of copyright violations. Here is her statement on RealDVD:
“RealDVD makes a permanent copy of copyrighted DVD content, and by doing so breaches its CSS License Agreement with the DVD Copy Control Association, the group that oversees the protection of DVDs for the major Hollywood studios and circumvents a technological measure that effectively controls access to or copying of the Studios’ copyrighted content on DVDs.
“Had Real’s products been manufactured differently, i.e., if what happened in Vegas really did stay in Vegas, this might have been a different case. But, it is what it is. Once the distributive nature of the copying process takes hold, like the spread of gossip after a weekend in Vegas, what’s done cannot be undone.”
RealNetworks is currently reviewing Patel’s decision and considering its next move.