Judge weighs testimony in RealDVD copy case

RealNetworks, MPAA now await a ruling on whether the product can be put back on the market

A US federal judge is now considering whether to permit sales of RealDVD, after testimony on a pretrial injunction ended Thursday. That injunction has prevented RealNetworks from selling its DVD software since late September.

Judge Marilyn Patel, who also presided over the Napster case in 2001, will decide whether to keep RealDVD off the market pending the outcome of a lawsuit brought by the movie industry. Plaintiffs' lawyers claim the software can be used to make illegal copies of films and that it violates the Digital Millennium Copyright Act's prohibition on anti-circumvention technology.

The case has pitted the technology industry against the major movie studios in a fight over who gets to control how digital movies are used.

RealNetworks introduced RealDVD in September, but sales were quickly halted by the injunction granted when movie studios filed suit. The software lets users copy and play movies from their computer hard drives, much the way Apple's iTunes works with CDs. The motion picture studios worry that the software could be misused, however.

DVD copying software such as Handbrake has been widely available since the Content-Scrambling System (CSS) used to copy-protect DVDs was cracked a decade ago, but RealNetworks had been trying to walk the line between enforcing copy protection and giving users a way to store movies on their computers.

In court testimony late last month, RealNetworks CEO Rob Glaser had argued that scofflaws are unlikely to use RealDVD, which costs US$30 and prevents users from burning new DVDs of their movies. There are "dozens of products" that DVD pirates could use if they wanted to make illegal copies, he told the court. "All you have to do is Google DVD ripper."

Real was sued by Disney, Paramount, Sony, Twentieth Century Fox, NBC Universal, Warner Brothers, Viacom on Sept. 30, 2008. It filed countersuit the same day. The DVD Copy Control Association, which licenses the CSS system, is also involved in the case. The case is being heard in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in San Francisco.

After Judge Patel decides whether or not to continue blocking sales of RealDVD, the case will then move toward trial. The judge's ruling could come at any time.

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 realdvdreal networks

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

Robert McMillan

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

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.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

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.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?