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RealNetworks thinks it has given content owners adequate protection from piracy using its application

The dominant application for copying DVDs circa 2004 was DVD X Copy. The company behind the software was sued into oblivion by several major motion picture studios and the Motion Picture Association of America. In the eyes of the DVD content owners, the software was nothing more than a method of allowing DVD renters to pirate copies of their films.

RealNetworks announced today that it would offer a new application called RealDVD to users for $30 that will allow the users to make copies of an entire DVD including extras and artwork digitally. RealNetworks says that the application will allow DVD owners to make a digital copy for archival and to be able to take with them on a computer when they travel.

Robert Glaser of RealNetworks told the New York Times, "[RealDVD is] a compelling and very responsible product that gives consumers a way to do something they have always wanted to do [copy DVDs]." Many will hear what RealNetworks has in mind and assume the software's days to be numbers before it ever hit store shelves.

The New York Times reports that RealNetworks feels the DVD industry footing on DVD copying is not as strong as it was back in 2004. The DVD Copy Control Association -- a group licensing DVD encryption to prevent piracy -- lost a lawsuit against a firm called Kaleidescape. Kaleidescape makes and sells a computer that can copy and store digital versions of up to 500 movies. The decision in the suit is under appeal.

Glaser told the New York Times, "If you look at the functionality of the product, we have put in significant barriers so people don’t just take this and put it on peer-to-peer networks. I think we’ve been really respectful of the legitimate interests of rights holders."

If the Kaleidescape ruling is over turned, RealNetworks is leaving itself in a very vulnerable position. It would likely have to remove the application from availability and could be sued itself for allowing users to make copies of DVDs.

RealNetworks says that its application has safe guards built-in to prevent it from being used as a method to pirate movies and post them online. The buyer of the RealDVD application would be able to make one copy of a DVD that could be played on only one computer. The digital copy could be transferred to up to five additional computers.

However, to transfer the film to a new computer would require each computer to have its own copy of the RealDVD application. The application is unable to copy HD films at this time.

Back in May 2007, DailyTech reported that the Advanced Access Content Licensing Administration was working to implement a feature called "managed copy" that would allow disc owners to make a digital copy of the film. The now defunct HD DVD also had plans to implement managed copy as part of its features.

The fear form Hollywood with software like RealDVD that allows for copies of movies to be made is that the film industry will end up like the recording industry. In the recording industry, the studios blame lagging sales of music on pirated copies of their works being freely offered on the internet.

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Someone educate me...
By Motoman on 9/8/2008 2:30:37 PM , Rating: 5 it or is it not legally OK for a consumer to make a backup copy of a DVD/software/CD that they buy? I was under the impression that the consumer had the legal right to make a backup for their own purposes, with the obvious use being to guard against the original disk being lost/broken/goes bad with old age.

If this is true, how is it legal for the content producers to do anything that impedes the consumer's right to do this? I guess I'm all for DRMing something with the condition being that I as a consumer don't "see" or "feel" it when I am making my own legal backup.

RE: Someone educate me...
By sapiens74 on 9/8/2008 2:36:51 PM , Rating: 4
It is legal to backup but Illegal to circumvent the DRM to make the backup

"Cracker Jack group of fuckers" - Lewis Black referring to the federal government

RE: Someone educate me...
By Solandri on 9/8/2008 2:41:05 PM , Rating: 3
It is perfectly legal for you to make a backup copy of your DVD/software/CD.

But it is illegal (in the U.S.) for someone to give you the tools necessary to bypass the DRM/encryption on the DVD/software to create a working backup (CDs don't have encryption).

The way they've managed to craft the laws, you have the right to make backups, but it's illegal for anyone to give/sell you the tools you need to make those backups. Some of the lawsuits and court decisions also seem to be saying it's illegal for someone to direct you to where you can get these tools, or to even tell you that such tools exist.

RE: Someone educate me...
By Ratinator on 9/8/2008 3:27:58 PM , Rating: 2
You sure about that?

"Gabriel asked if it was wrong for consumers to make copies of music which they have purchased, even just one copy. Pariser replied, "When an individual makes a copy of a song for himself, I suppose we can say he stole a song." Making "a copy" of a purchased song is just "a nice way of saying 'steals just one copy'," she said. "

RE: Someone educate me...
By Solandri on 9/8/2008 4:50:00 PM , Rating: 3
The RIAA has got this weird licensed/sold concept where on any issue, they will take whichever stance (licensed or sold) favors them the most. If you want to back up the music, they will say it's sold so you can't make a copy. Back when selling used CDs was an issue, they claimed it was licensed and so First Sale doctrine didn't apply and you didn't have a right to resell it.

The Betamax decision hinged on non-commercial, non-infringing uses. Making a backup copy is not commercial (does not gain you any profit), and is non-infringing (you aren't distributing it).

The Grokster case relied on inducement to infringement. Making a backup copy does not induce someone else to infringe.

In fact if you look at fair use doctrine, a backup copy is just about the most benign form of copying you can come up with. In fact, if the work is licensed and you're not allowed to make a backup of it, then I would argue that if you happen to destroy the original, the record company must provide you with a replacement for the cost of the media. Otherwise they are violating the terms of the license. You paid them money for the right to listen to the music at will. They still have your money, but you have lost the ability to listen to the music, so they must remedy the situation. (To be fair, some companies, mostly software, do do this.)

RE: Someone educate me...
By tastyratz on 9/9/2008 8:37:38 AM , Rating: 2
I actually have seen this.

I had a copy of the xmen dvd when I first purchased it eons ago get scratched beyond usability. I made a phone call and they said they would replace it for something along the lines of 10 bux if I mailed the original to them. Wasn't worth it to me but at least it was an offered service.

RE: Someone educate me...
By FITCamaro on 9/9/2008 7:49:00 AM , Rating: 2
Many CDs have had DRM on them.

RE: Someone educate me...
By Sulphademus on 9/9/2008 9:40:18 AM , Rating: 2
Well, some of the newer ones (2005 on, I believe). And Sony had their ass handed to them by several state attourny generals on their DRM rootkit. Though 2$mil or whatever it was just ended up being a slap on the wrist.

RE: Someone educate me...
By SunAngel on 9/8/08, Rating: 0
RE: Someone educate me...
By iheartzoloft on 9/8/2008 3:56:03 PM , Rating: 2
My cousin "JoeJimBob" is very offended that you would question is electronic media habits.

RE: Someone educate me...
By Oregonian2 on 9/9/2008 2:47:25 PM , Rating: 2
I think if you get JoeJimBob to join Netflix you can get a free month (or some such) yourself for the reference (he may have to give you credit in his signup). :-)

RE: Someone educate me...
By Penti on 9/10/2008 12:33:30 AM , Rating: 2
As 2nd world countries is a cold war referal to the Comecon countries there are no second world countries anymore, they are either first och third world now. The terms now days are developed, developing or underdevelop or more accuratly least developed countries. An example of a fourth world or LDC is Afghanistan.

RE: Someone educate me...
By theapparition on 9/8/2008 2:43:57 PM , Rating: 3
You are 100% allowed to make backup copies of any movie you own, per legal precidents.

However, you are 100% not allowed to circumvent encryption per the DCMA. It's a catch 22. You prefectly legal to make a copy, but only if the original is not encrypted. It's the breaking encryption that's quazi-illegal, not the copy itself.

RE: Someone educate me...
By Motoman on 9/8/2008 3:26:50 PM , Rating: 2 back to my thought of "how is it legal for them to do this..."

Granted that the consumer has a guaranteed right to make their own backup copy, when a content producer puts DRM on the original that *prevents* the consumer from making their own backup (which is a right provided by law), aren't they engaging in illegal behavior?

I don't understand how any agency can prevent a citizen from exercise a law-given right. Seems to me that should be illegal. I can't interfere in anyone's exercising of law-given rights, whether I like them or not. So why has someone not sued the RIAA/MPAA/etc. for deliberately denying them the ability to exercise their law-given right to make a backup?

RE: Someone educate me...
By Doormat on 9/8/2008 7:46:34 PM , Rating: 2
How is it legal for Real Networks? Easy, they don't circumvent CSS copy protection. Rather, they leave the DVD encrypted and then add their own layer of DRM to keep the encrypted DVD image from floating around the net.

So when you go to play back, you have to go through Real's DRM (through their software) and CSS (via DVD playing software).

Or just use DVD Decryptor and Handbrake and make it easy on yourself.

RE: Someone educate me...
By theapparition on 9/8/2008 10:29:18 PM , Rating: 2
Granted that the consumer has a guaranteed right to make their own backup copy, when a content producer puts DRM on the original that *prevents* the consumer from making their own backup (which is a right provided by law), aren't they engaging in illegal behavior?

That's the legal gray area. There are 2 issues at play.

1. Does the consumer have a "guaranteed" right to make a backup, or rather is that no so much a right, but just permission to make a backup.

2. Does the DCMA acually infringe on previous rights, and in itself, not legally enforceable.

I have a hard time believing that any judge would convict someone for strictly making backup copies. On the flip side, how would any legal authority find out you've make backups unless you tried to distribute them.

RE: Someone educate me...
By Motoman on 9/9/2008 11:51:17 AM , Rating: 2
...but as always, the most honest consumer is the one paying the price of this DRM crap. The guy who's too honest to "risk" breaking a law by making a backup copy of his new DVD...and then inevitibly when the DVD gets lost, or the kids scratch it, or it disintigrates in 10 years he either no longer has the content he paid for, and/or he has to go and pay for it again by buying a new DVD.

As opposed to having had the idiot-proof means and clear leagal right to make a backup copy in the first place, and be able to continually make a backup of that backup when the original backup becomes the primary (if you can follow that...)...

DRM doesn't hurt the pirate - never will. It hurts the honest consumer, who may just stop buying DVDs/CDs/whatever all together.

RE: Someone educate me...
By RRR on 9/8/2008 3:56:53 PM , Rating: 2
Some software 'agreements' allow backups. Until I see a court case resolved that "Fair Use" applies to protected-DVD copying... I wouldn't bet on protected-DVD copying being 'legal'. Protected-DVD's are covered under the DMCA law, apparently... which prohibits any hardware/software from circumventing the protections. Everyone stating protected-DVD copying or protected-DVD backups are legal needs to cite the specific law that they think makes this so. Much DVD-copying software is sold on the basis that users will make copies of DVD's they've made themselves, and not copy 'copy-protected' copyrighted ones. Some of the copy software simply won't copy copy-protected DVD's (without some illegal 'cracker' software between the copy program and the DVD reader/player).
I choose to believe in "Fair Use" law, originally applied to tape cassettes, for it to be legal for consumers to copy copyrighted content for 'backups' or to use in their other format players, whether it be tape cassettes or portable video/mp3 players or cellphones or another player of our choosing... but until there's a court case resolving that issue, I don't see that there's any firm guarantee of copy legality. Lawyers seem to have successfully bamboozled the courts that all previous legal precedents and Fair Use copyright laws do not apply to the Internet or digital content. I believe that once I've paid for any content, I will watch it where, when, and how I choose, for my personal use, as I see fit... that doesn't mean I'm going to make copies and distribute them to my friends and family, or post on the Internet for mass download... or rent content and make backups for myself to own permanently if I haven't paid that ownership fee. I've read that there is already a 'premium', apparently, charged in the price of blank media (CD's and DVD's), that goes to copyright holders as some sort of blank media manufacturer 'penance' for the possibility that someone will make copies of copy-protected content. The 'law' needs to punish -mass- illegal copier/distributors and not individual consumers trying to protect their investment and enjoy the content however they choose. Some 'word of mouth' content exchanging can boost sales... but the lawyer/accountants don't want to let go of a single penny, and think we should have to pay multiple times for a single content/item, if we listen to/watch it on a CD, and listen to/watch it on a DVD, and listen to/watch it on a cellphone or listen to/watch it with green eggs and ham. However, given the software, I will rip a CD/DVD and listen to/watch it wherever/however I please, and I won't buy another copy, in a different format, of the same identical content, that I already own for my personal 'fair use'... to play in a cellphone/video/audio player or whatever.

RE: Someone educate me...
By turbo911 on 9/9/2008 2:49:42 PM , Rating: 2
This is simple, Big business controls the country so it's always legal if you have the money for your voice to be heard .As citizens it would be nice if we could get together and work together for a change ,we could actually make fix this and allot of other things that are legally unjustified .But as long as we are scattered as many and the few are organized and have capital be heard ,we citizens lose out again.

Real Crap (TM)
By icanhascpu on 9/8/2008 5:11:21 PM , Rating: 5
Who cares if this is legal or not. The question is, who wants to install anything from Real Networks on their system?

RE: Real Crap (TM)
By Oregonian2 on 9/9/2008 2:51:45 PM , Rating: 2
And that's the truth. If their products weren't so slimy (completely unnecessary) they may even be liked -- but I won't touch their software because of it (and anyone who has had realplayer/etc on their machines know what I mean by slimy). Even if they stop, I won't touch them because of past action.

Redbox, Blockbuster and Netflix
By Doormat on 9/8/2008 7:51:02 PM , Rating: 3
If I was the MPAA, I'd be worried about people renting movies from Redbox, Blockbuster and Netflix, putting them into their system, and then returning them. A DVD rip is 8GB, and a 1TB HDD is $140 (if you catch a deal). So thats 116 DVDs per 1TB HDD (not 128, damn 10^3 vs 2^10 conversion). Unless the software has some random DVD check where it will occasionally make you go put the real DVD in (which IMO absolutely kills usability) its very vulnerable.

By Oregonian2 on 9/9/2008 3:03:27 PM , Rating: 2
Seems like too much work I think. Costco has WD "My book" 1TB drives on sale, ones with the eSATA interface that my HD DirecTV HR-21 DVR uses (only I understand that they won't work with the DVR for some reason). But anyway, having local storage of massive movies on a DVR's disk is SO much easier than the scheme you portray -- and it's hooked to the TV already. Setting things to record (even in advance) is downright trivial on the DVR, and it'll stay there until the disk fills up (and in MPEG-4 format which should take less disk than a DVD's MPEG-2). I think all the HD from DirecTV is now MPEG-4 (or is about to be as they integrate mappings with their new satellite).

Plus no hassle as to whether it's legal or not. :-) Only downside is that it'll take a little longer before a movie hits HBO/Skinemax/Encore/TMC/Showtime/etc (we subscribe to them all).

RIAA and MPAA comparison
By TheDoc9 on 9/8/2008 6:19:37 PM , Rating: 4
The fear form Hollywood with software like RealDVD that allows for copies of movies to be made is that the film industry will end up like the recording industry.

This might happen with increased download speeds but I don't think it's likely.

The music industry had a huge issue working against it; namely that people were forced to spend between $10 to $16 or even more depending on what sale you can find. This is a pricing scheme that hasn't changed in over 20 years on a product where you might receive a handful of your favorite tracks, the rest you often literally could care less about no matter how much of a fan you are.

Entire movies have always been around $15 - $20 (although new non-public releases were much higher in the VHS days), some a bit higher in the high-def formats. This is a product that often costs millions upon millions to make, with sometimes hundreds or thousands of people involved. In short, the music industry was screwed from the beginning. They haven't changed and they have the wrong sales model and expectations for their product.

What if pricing was $5 for old CD's and $7.99 to $10 for all new releases. I imagine they might be profitable again, but there are to many middle men and royalties involved for this to ever happen.

What's so special?
By theapparition on 9/8/2008 2:36:38 PM , Rating: 3
There's pleny of other software products that let you copy DVD's. Many are sold at the local Wal-Mart. What makes Real's so special, other than it will be as intrusive as previous Real's products?

The now defunct HD DVD also had plans to implement managed copy as part of its features.

One of HD DVD's legacies, is that it forced Blu-ray into including mandatory managed copy. And for that, we should all be thankful to the DVD forum (promoters of the HD DVD spec, not Toshiba)

Trading one DRM for another?
By sapiens74 on 9/8/2008 2:48:07 PM , Rating: 3
And using Real software to boot.

By ggordonliddy on 9/9/2008 5:37:06 PM , Rating: 2
What kind of idiot would buy this instead of AnyDVD?

Is it legal??
By JackHandy1979 on 9/8/08, Rating: -1
"We don't know how to make a $500 computer that's not a piece of junk." -- Apple CEO Steve Jobs
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