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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 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.

"It seems as though my state-funded math degree has failed me. Let the lashings commence." -- DailyTech Editor-in-Chief Kristopher Kubicki
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