RealDVDs, surreal lawsuits

Well, that didn't take long. One day after RealNetworks releases its DVD copying software, lawsuits are filed. Who's right, who's wrong, and where do movie fans fit in? Cringely has some thoughts.

Like a Brachiosaur sinking into a tar pit, the recording industry as we've known it for the past 70 years is very nearly extinct. But unlike dinosaurs, the RIAA is trying to drag everyone else into the pit with it.

As a long-time print journalist, I actually feel their pain -- slightly. Newspapers and magazines are following CDs into the fossil fuel bin. Some, like InfoWorld, will successfully swap paper for pixels; most won't. Unless you own a blogging empire, it's not a good time to be a publisher. (But, with a few random exceptions, publications haven't been suing their customers for unfettered article swapping.)

The movie industry takes less heat for prosecuting alleged movie pirates, but it's no better than its reptilian cousins on the audio side. That's about to change. The MPAA will soon supplant the RIAA as Public Enemy No. 1 for people who believe that when you buy a copy of something, you actually own it.

Case in point: The dueling lawsuits between the movie studios and RealNetworks over the RealDVD software.

Interestingly, it was Real who sued first -- launching a preemptive strike by asking courts in Northern California to declare its DVD copying license legal. It only took a few hours for the studios to respond in kind. Greg Goeckner, general counsel and designated spokesmodel for the MPAA, churned out a few choice sound bites [PDF]:

RealNetworks' RealDVD should be called "StealDVD"... . The major motion picture studios have been making major investments in technologies that allow people to access entertainment in a variety of new and legal ways. This includes online video-on-demand, download-to-own, as well as legitimate digital copies for storage and use on computers and portable devices that are increasingly being made available on or with DVDs. Our industry will continue on this path because it gives consumers greater choices than ever.

Except, of course, the choice to take a movie you paid for and make decisions about how and where you watch it.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags notes from the field

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Robert X. Cringely

InfoWorld
Show Comments

Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?