RealDVD Case Nears Conclusion
If you have a particularly good memory, then you may recall that RealNetworks (the makers or RealPlayer) put sales of its RealDVD ripping software on hold last year after being sued by major Hollywood film studios. The claim was that the software violated copyright and was illegal under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DCMA), which forbids the bypassing of any digital rights management protection system. The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) has said that the software could allow users to copy a DVD and then share it around. RealNetworks now claims that enhanced security used in RealDVD means that a digital version made using the software can then only be played back on the same computer used to make the copy. There is of course a related argument, which is that consumers already have access to digital copies of DVDs should they want them and that aiming to restrict a consumers ability to make a legal backup of content only encourages them to adopt or continue to use the illegal methods of doing so.
The hearing resumes this Thursday, with closing statements likely to come soon after. A ruling from Judge Marilyn Patel (who also presided over the Napster case, which saw the peer-to-peer file-sharing service shut down) is then expected in the weeks following.