RealNetworks defeated over DVD copying

Los Angeles, CA – Hollywood studios have defeated RealNetworks in a federal court, winning a preliminary injunction preventing the company from selling its RealDVD device.

The device allows consumers to copy DVDs to their computer hard drives. The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) – representing Walt Disney, Sony, Universal and others – alleged that it was an illegal pirating tool.

RealNetworks argued that RealDVD simply represented a way for consumers to back up DVDs they already own. But the MPAA said it was violating the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).

US District Court Judge Marilyn Hall Patel said that RealNetworks failed to show that the RealDVD products were intended to be used  primarily for legitimate purposes. She decided that it curcumvented legitimate tools – ARccOS and RipGuard – that controlled access to the DVD content.

RealNetworks had tried to argue that, because it had licensed anti-copying technology CSS, it was entitled to circumvent ARccOS and RipGuard. But the judge ruled that Real had no right to do this.

The case also affects RealNetwork’s Facet device, a set-top box that allows users to copy DVDs to a hard drive.

RealNetworks has not said whether it plans to appeal. It has already spent more than $6 million on fighting the case, which started back in April.

“We have just received the Judge’s detailed ruling and are reviewing it,” said the company. “After we have done so fully, we’ll determine our course of action and will have more to say at that time.”