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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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By SunAngel on 10/1/2008 9:44:10 AM , Rating: 2
Not sure if you were aware of this or not, but for a small nominal fee (e.g. disk + shipping charge), you can mail in your scratch/cracked/broken disk and receive a replacement.

There is a no doubt we will get to the digital domain era of video downloads, but it definitely won't be lead by those that hide behind the "the dog ate my homework" excuse.

By ebakke on 10/1/2008 9:50:07 AM , Rating: 5
But the argument then becomes: Why should I have to pay for the same thing twice, when a mechanism to prevent this entire situation already exists and the only reason I can't use that mechanism, is because these guys want more money?

By Lord 666 on 10/1/2008 10:05:11 AM , Rating: 3
What if the DVD is out of print? The way Disney releases movies and then pulls them off the market, would I still be able to get a replacement of Lion King or Snow White through the studio as they are no longer sold.

By JasonMick on 10/1/2008 11:00:54 AM , Rating: 2
The Disney site does not disclose how/if it deals with out of print titles. I'd say there's a fair chance you'd mail them your dvd and get it returned to you, or worse yet get nothing back (if anyone has done this, feel free to correct me).

Also for those interested the "nominal fee" mentioned by Chris is typically around $6.99 (that the amount Disney charges...). Considering that a new DVD for many titles costs as little as $4-$5 at Best Buy/Target/etc., I think its pretty clear that the movie studios intend for you to buy a new one if you damage your old copy.

Perhaps if the studios eliminated the "nominal fee" or greatly reduced it, they would have a leg to stand on, but in its current form, this is an unquestionably bad policy imo which does nothing to stop piracy, merely hurts customers trying to be honest and pay for their content.

By Mitch101 on 10/1/2008 11:05:08 AM , Rating: 2
I love that Disney Marketing BS. Scare mongering like this is truly lame. If you don't sell it then that makes a pirate copy all that more attractive.

What this does is cause panic for the copy software and spur people rushing to buy the copy software before its no longer available.

By omnicronx on 10/1/2008 11:17:13 AM , Rating: 2
Disney has been doing this for years, and long before the DVD existed. They release a movie, take it off the market a year or two later, and than re-release it every 7-10 years later as a special edition... and then back to the 'Disney Vault'.. I don't even want to guess how many times snow white has been re-released.. not to mention that it has been re-released in theaters 7 times.

By Tanclearas on 10/1/2008 9:12:35 PM , Rating: 4
That is absolutely NOT always true.

I scratched one of my disks of Panzer Dragoon Saga for the Saturn. I contacted Sega, and received a reply along the lines of "Oh well. Go buy another."

It was no longer available for sale, and the game was selling on ebay at that time for well over $100 (they made a very limited number).

As far as I am concerned, if a publisher implements any form of copy protection, they should be legally forced to provide replacement services indefinitely. No, I do not see that as unreasonable. If they implement a mechanism that prevents me from carrying out my own means of protecting my investment, then they should be the ones responsible for replacement. Plain and simple.

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