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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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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.

"Nowadays, security guys break the Mac every single day. Every single day, they come out with a total exploit, your machine can be taken over totally. I dare anybody to do that once a month on the Windows machine." -- Bill Gates
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