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Movie studios revive the RIAA's "making a copy" equates to "stealing one copy" argument

The RIAA and music labels gained a bit more notoriety when one of its associates, Sony BMG's head of litigation Jennifer Pariser, remarked during a case, "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'."

Now the MPAA, which typically follows closely in the RIAA's footsteps, is suing software maker RealNetworks and making similar remarks.  In a similar mentality, which some say punishes the paying customer,
Paramount Pictures, Twentieth Century Fox, Universal Studios, Warner Brothers, Columbia Pictures, the Walt Disney Company and Sony have all filed suit against the company, which claims it only wants to provide content owners with a means of backing up their DVDs.

Greg Goeckner, executive vice president and general counsel for the Motion Picture Association of America, says that users shouldn't get to copy their DVDs -- even those they own.  He states, "RealDVD should be called StealDVD.  RealNetworks knows its product violates the law, and undermines the hard-won trust that has been growing between America’s moviemakers and the technology community."

Seattle-based RealNetworks found itself targeted after it released its RealDVD software, available for $30.  RealNetworks is no rogue operator -- rather it’s the software giant behind the RealPlayer software and the Rhapsody music subscription service, the second largest legitimate online music retailer.  Nonetheless, it found itself the target of the MPAA's aggressive campaign, which seeks to block any private DVD reproduction. 

RealNetworks is standing tall against the MPAA and blasted back in a tersely worded statement Tuesday.  The statement read, "We are disappointed that the movie industry is following in the footsteps of the music industry and trying to shut down advances in technology, rather than embracing changes that provide consumers with more value and flexibility for their purchases."

RealDVD conforms to all Hollywood’s rules on DVD protection by encrypting the digital copies.  This is intended to prevent filesharing.  Still, studios claim the program violates the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act, an all-reaching act used for everything from web takedowns to filesharing cases.  The studios say that by overriding anti-copying mechanisms on the DVD, RealDVD is breaking the law.  The studios are seeking an injunction to prevent the program's sales.

A frustrated RealNetworks fired back with a countersuit of its own against the studios in a federal court in San Francisco on Tuesday.

This case will like bear major ramifications on the movie industry, and DailyTech will be following it closely.

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Hate Them
By UppityMatt on 10/1/2008 9:23:36 AM , Rating: 0
I am starting to hate the Movie and Music Industry more and more by the day. So what happens if i buy an external HD to backup my music i have on my HD from ripped CDs? Is that copyright infringement now also. This is getting out of control and i hope the judge sticks it to them. Ill be damned if i go back to swapping CDs in and out of drives, when i have several gigs of ripped tracks on my HD that i can just shuffle.

RE: Hate Them
By dflynchimp on 10/1/2008 9:32:30 AM , Rating: 2
just hope that the judge isn't recieving a payoff behind the scenes from said companies...I know it's illegal, but seriously, these companies don't give a rats @ss for laws unless it suits their purposes.

RE: Hate Them
By ebakke on 10/1/2008 9:45:08 AM , Rating: 2
??? Oh man, welcome to the club.

RE: Hate Them
By omnicronx on 10/1/2008 10:40:42 AM , Rating: 2
You are legally allowed to make backups of music that you own, as long as there is no copy protection employed. I have ripped most of my CD's to harddrive so that I have a high quality mp3s, and so that I don't have to put the CD in every time I want to listen to something. Only a small fraction of my CD's actually employed copy protection, so pretty much all of my rips are legal.

RE: Hate Them
By mmntech on 10/1/2008 11:44:01 AM , Rating: 4
Fortunately, it's technically not legal to employ copy-protection on CDs. It violated the Red Book audio standard. That's why you should only buy discs that bare the "Compact Disc: Digital Audio" logo. Audio CDs can't legally bare the logo if they have DRM on them.

I think the real reasoning behind this suit is quite obvious. It's not about piracy anymore but rather who has the right to produce and sell digital copies of movies. Hollywood stands to make a lot of money from downloadable content from places like iTunes. If you can make it yourself, that basically kills that new market. Hollywood wants to sell you multiple copies of the same thing. DRM and the DMCA gives them the control over how that content is used and keeps this business practise afloat. It is used to blur the line between fair use and piracy. It may be legal for me to make a digital copy of a movie I own for personal use under the DMCA, but it's illegal to circumvent the DRM. The law contradicts itself in that manner, and effectively kills fair use by doing so. It works to creates an artificial demand for the digital copies, given that without the DRM, there would be likely be much less demand for them.

I personally think Hollywood should follow recent developments in the music industry. Offer DRM-free movies at a reasonable price, say $10 a movie, and see what sales vs piracy is. I think people would be more inclined to buy digital copies if they could put them on all their media devices hassle free.

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