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RealNetworks takes on movie studios and MPAA
Declares consumers’ rights to copy DVDs
RealNetworks of Seattle, Washington, took on major film studios in a legal battle over its new product, Real DVD, which allows consumers to make copies of DVDs on their computers. The film studios are up in arms, as they claim the copying of DVDs is illegal. Real DVD is a software product that allows users to create a DVD copy for their PC’s internal or portable hard drive, similar to being able to copy music CDs.
The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), which represents Hollywood's major film and TV studios, has added RealNetworks and their product to the MPAA hate list; and has sued it in court and is seeking a temporary restraining order to prohibit RealNetworks from selling its RealDVD software.
The MPAA accuses RealNetworks of violating the Federal Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) by circumventing the built-in DVD copyright protection technology. The MPAA is claiming that the existing law supersedes the fair-use protections that RealNetworks claim apply to its RealDVD.
The MPAA issued a statement saying, "RealNetworks' RealDVD should be called StealDVD," according to Greg Goeckner, Executive VP and General Counsel for the MPAA. “RealNetworks knows its product violates the law and undermines the hard-won trust that has been growing between America's movie makers and the technology community," he went on to say.
RealNetworks countered this by claiming that RealDVD has built-in encryption to prevent saved copies of DVDs from being shared or stolen. They issued a statement, saying, "We are disappointed that the movie industry is following in the footsteps of the music industry and trying to shut down advances in technology rather than embracing changes that provide consumers with more value and flexibility for their purchases."
RealNetworks also vowed to fight the MPAA by filing in court and seeking its own declaratory judgment against mega media giants, DVD Copy Control Association, Inc., Disney Enterprises. Inc., Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp., NBC Universal, Inc., Warner Brothers Entertainment, Inc. and Viacom, Inc. in federal court. RealNetworks has asked the U.S. District Court to rule that RealDVD complies with its DVD Copy Control Association's license agreement.