The suit filed against
RealNetworks centered around the company's RealDVD
software, which ripped through protection technology to allow
users to make digital copies of their legally-owned content.
RealNetworks had plans to release a DVD drive/software bundle called
Facet, which would make the process even quicker and easier.
company's business model, though, was put to the legal test. The
Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) filed suit against the
company over alleged violations of the Digital Millennium Copyright
Act (DMCA) and breach of contract in a lawsuit filed last fall.
The MPAA's assertion was simple -- consumers do not have the right to
copy DVD movies -- ever.
RealNetwork's defense was that the
ARccOS and RipGuard protection technologies it circumvented weren't
designed as anti-copying technologies, and further that anti-copying
technology was built on CSS, something that RealNetworks held patents
on and licensed. It argued that as it owned these rights, it
had a right to alter the resulting software This defense fell
apart when it was established that ARccOS and RipGuard are not, in
fact, included in the CSS license.
In the end U.S. District
Court Judge Marilyn Patel ruled against RealNetworks, ordering it to
stop selling software. Wrote Judge Patel in the decision,
"RealDVD makes a permanent copy of copyrighted DVD content and
by doing so breaches its (Content Scramble System) 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."
met the verdict with elation. MPAA Chairman and CEO Dan
Glickman states, "We are very pleased with the court's
decision. This is a victory for the creators and producers of
motion pictures and television shows and for the rule of law in our
digital economy. Judge Patel's ruling affirms what we have known all
along: Real took a license to build a DVD-player and instead made an
RealNetworks has complied with the
ruling and has suspended sales on its website, though it will likely
try to appeal the decision.
The case represents a landmark,
precedent-setting ruling in terms of fair use. It sets the
precedent that not only declares that media-copying software which
circumvents copy-protection technologies is illegal, but also adds
legal credence to the MPAA and RIAA's argument that consumers making
copies of legally purchased DVDs and CDs is
While enforcement of such laws on individual
citizens is prohibitively expensive for these organizations, it gives
them room to lobby law enforcement to take on the fiscal burden and
begin investigating and prosecuting citizens for such offenses.
The ruling also raises questions about what
exactly amounts to infringement.
quote: "If the content is protected, either by hardware or code or license--
quote: People need to vote with their wallets, its the only thing our politicians and corporations understand.
quote: ...the right to not buy their crap. and i use that right daily.
quote: In Canada, all blank media includes a special tax that goes directly to the entertainment industry
quote: there is one right they can't take away from me.. and that is the right to not buy their crap. and i use that right daily.
quote: The court said nothing about the right of an individual to back up their own DVD collection. What it did say is that it is illegal to distribute software to do so if it violates the DMCA ( and the court did specifically state that fair use cannot be used in a defense like this ). Therefore, it is still perfectly legal for someone to back up their own DVDs. You just cannot expect any help in doing so from third-party software.
quote: ... if no one can sell software that allows you to make a backup, unless you are DVDJON, you aren't going to make a backup.
quote: If distributing said software cannot happen, then by extension, consumers cannot make copies and therefore have no right to make copies.
quote: Now... if I wrote this software, I could use it... but if I started distributing it, that's where problems would arise.
quote: No, you may neither manufacture nor use said software.
quote: I never said anything about circumventing copyright protection. You do not need to do that when backing up a DVD - simply back it up w/ the copyright protection in place.
quote: As long as I don't sign a contract w/ the MPAA and CSS foundation that I will not do such things ( as RealNetworks did ), I'll be fine.
quote: Then why did you spout off about developing your own software? There are dozens of freeware apps that'll clone DVDs.
quote: RealNetworks software removed protections from DVDs so that the MPEG stream could be played from a hard drive.
quote: RealNetworks lost this case because they had an agreement (with either the MPAA or CSS foundation - whatever they're called... the agreement was not made public) in that they will not attempt to circumvent CSS encryption. The judge ruled that allowing playback of DVD movies from your harddrive, even if the CSS encryption is in place, circumvents CSS encryption, since there is some clause in the agreement that requires a physical DVD to be in the drive at time of playback.
quote: Breach of contract != violation of DMCA. You're getting chocolate in your peanut butter there.
quote: Where in that ENTIRE paragraph did I mention the DMCA?
quote: None of the language in this ruling says anything about fair use.
quote: You don't have that similie correct.
quote: Therefore, his chances of getting caught are effectively 0...
quote: Trust me, the MPAA would like nothing better...
quote: does this ruling mean I 'technically' am doing something illegal from now on if I copy a DVD I purchased through a legitimate retail outlet onto a server in my own house so I can easily access any movie in my collection in an organized fashion quickly?
quote: If that is the case this one of the dumbest rulings I've read about in a long time
quote: While enforcement of such laws on individual citizens is prohibitively expensive for these organizations, it gives them room to lobby law enforcement to take on the fiscal burden and begin investigating and prosecuting citizens for such offenses.
quote: RealNetwork's defense was that the ARccOS and RipGuard protection technologies it circumvented weren't designed as anti-copying technologies