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Court Rules RealDVD Software Violates Copyright Laws

Preliminary injunction bars manufacturing and selling of the $30 RealDVD software.

Update: 9:46 a.m. on August 14, 2009: RealNetworks statement on unavailability.

A federal court has ruled that RealNetworks' RealDVD software, which rips DVDs and stores copies on a hard drive, violates copyright laws and the CSS (content scramble system) license agreement with the DVD Copy Control Association (DVD CCA).

U.S. District Court Judge Marilyn Patel has issued a preliminary injunction that bars RealNetworks from manufacturing and selling the $30 software.

RealNetworks has posted the following statement on its Web site saying the RealDVD software is temporarily unavailable:

Due to recent legal action taken by the Hollywood movie studios against us, RealDVD is temporarily unavailable. Rest assured, we will continue to work diligently to provide you with software that allows you to make a legal copy of your DVDs for your own use.

The ruling may also prevent RealNetworks' Facet DVD player from being sold. The movie studios argued that RealDVD violates federal laws by encouraging consumers to "rent, rip and return" rather than buying DVDs.

RealNetworks claimed consumers have a fundamental right to copy DVDs for safer and more convenient storage, adding that the RealDVD software contains piracy protections that limit consumers to just one copy.

"We are disappointed that a preliminary injunction has been placed on the sale of RealDVD," RealNetworks writes in a statement.

Patel was the judge who shut down Napster in 2000 because of copyright violations. Here is her statement on RealDVD:

"RealDVD makes a permanent copy of copyrighted DVD content, and by doing so breaches its CSS License Agreement with the DVD Copy Control Association, the group that oversees the protection of DVDs for the major Hollywood studios and circumvents a technological measure that effectively controls access to or copying of the Studios' copyrighted content on DVDs.

"Had Real's products been manufactured differently, i.e., if what happened in Vegas really did stay in Vegas, this might have been a different case. But, it is what it is. Once the distributive nature of the copying process takes hold, like the spread of gossip after a weekend in Vegas, what's done cannot be undone."

RealNetworks is currently reviewing Patel's decision and considering its next move.

DVD Ripping: The Whole Picture
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DVD Ripping: The Latest on the Legal Front
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Understanding the Kaleidescape, RealDVD Cases
What have the courts really decided on DVD copying, and what are the implications for the future? We debunk the myths about the the two lawsuits and clarify the current legal state of DVD ripping.
Is DVD 'Ripping' the Same as 'Archiving?'
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Developers of movie-ripping products insist their products are legal. Here's how the manufacturers justify their solutions.
Copy Protection Group Sues Kaleidescape (2005)
Kaleidescape has a license from the DVD CCA to employ CSS decoding in its media servers, which it does. Now, DVD CCA is suing Kaleidescape for breach of contract.
Would Studios Rather We Buy DVD Ripping Products Offshore?
As studios work to quash legitimate products like RealDVD, offshore providers of DVD ripping software -- like AnyDVD developer SlySoft -- are reaping the rewards.
Industry Insider: DVD CCA Is an Innovation-Stifling Cartel (2005)
The DVD Copyright Control Association (DVD CCA) is a bunch of bullies. The organization manages to coerce all manufacturers of DVD players to sign away their rights to innovation.

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Article Topics

News · Digital Rights · Digital Media · Legal · Legal · Digital Rights · All topics

About the Author

Steve Crowe, Web Editor
Steve is an editor for He graduated from Emerson College with a B.A. in Journalism. He joined the CE Pro staff in 2008. Steve is also a freelance sports writer for The Boston Globe and other various publications.

6 Comments (displayed in order by date/time)

Posted by Bill goldberg  on  08/12  at  12:20 PM

And yet kaleidescape is still legal, this is BS and it will only push people into doing illegal downloads through torrents. Sorry hollywood but you are dead wrong on this.

Posted by Dave  on  08/12  at  01:15 PM


Do not hold your breath. Kaleidescape is next and with this ruling they will probably be barred as well.  Watch others like Colorado vNet, Escient, and Fusion.  Your CSS license is no different.  In the end the consumer loses and the studios win which is what anyone familiar with the case knew the judge would rule.

Posted by sanfransoxfan04  on  08/12  at  03:18 PM

You can breath now.

Kaleidescape lost the appeal.;=&form=QBNT

Posted by Pro Big Biz  on  08/12  at  04:36 PM

Hooray- another win for our team. Screw the consumer.

Posted by FunGuy  on  08/12  at  05:50 PM

What about the software called AnyDVD?  That software can rip Blu-rays movies to the hard drive.

Posted by Pro Big Biz  on  08/13  at  08:30 AM

With the help of the DMCA we made taht illegal too smile. Good luck, we have the $$, the lobbyists and the lawyers…

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