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MPAA Kills RealDVD for Good: The End of DVD Copying?

Instead of appealing a decision that deemed its DVD-copying software illegal, Real Networks caved to the studios and will pay $4.5 million

Julie Jacobson · March 4, 2010

Real Networks (RNWK) caved to the studios yesterday.

Instead of appealing a decision that deemed its $30 RealDVD ripping software illegal, the company is paying the studios $4.5 million as reimbursement for legal fees.

Under the auspices of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), the studios sued Real in September 2008, claiming violations under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). The company also was sued for a breach of contract with the DVD CCA (Copy Control Association), which licenses the Content Scramble System (CSS) decryption software.

An injunction was imposedand never lifted—on sales of RealDVD.

In August 2009, the MPAA prevailed in its case against Real, which promised to appeal the decision.

Yesterday, Real gave up.

In addition to coughing up $4.5 million, Real agreed to abandon its claims against the studios and shut off metadata to the 2,700 users who managed to buy the software before the injunction was ordered.

After yesterday’s decision, MPAA general counsel Daniel Mandil said that the court’s “rulings and this settlement affirm what we have said from the very start of this litigation: It is illegal to bypass the copyright protections built into DVDs.”

He added, “We will continue to vigorously pursue companies that attempt to bring these illegal circumvention products and devices to market.”

Death Knell for DVD Copying?

CE pros are probably asking: What does this mean for Kaleidescape?

Kaleidescape was sued in 2004, not for violations under the DMCA but for breach of contract with the DVD CCA.

The DVD CCA maintains that its licensing agreement prohibits the sale of products that enable users to copy DVDs – even if the copies are bit-for-bit, with CSS intact.

Kaleidescape servers – with their five-digit price tags—perform such bit-for-bit copying, which is one reason the company has always maintained that it complies with the DVD CCA licensing agreement and the DMCA.

  About the Author

Julie Jacobson is founding editor of CE Pro, the leading media brand for the home-technology channel. She has covered the smart-home industry since 1994, long before there was much of an Internet, let alone an Internet of things. Currently she studies, speaks, writes and rabble-rouses in the areas of home automation, security, networked A/V, wellness-related technology, biophilic design, and the business of home technology. Julie majored in Economics at the University of Michigan, spent a year abroad at Cambridge University, and earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin. She is a recipient of the annual CTA TechHome Leadership Award, and a CEDIA Fellows honoree. A washed-up Ultimate Frisbee player, Julie currently resides in San Antonio, Texas and sometimes St. Paul, Minn. Follow on Twitter: @juliejacobson Email Julie at julie.jacobson@emeraldexpo.com

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  Article Topics

News · DMCA · DVD CCA · DVD Ripping · EFF · Kaleidescape · Legal · All Topics
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