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!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

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

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?