Print 122 comment(s) - last by rcc.. on Oct 7 at 12:32 PM

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.

Comments     Threshold

This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

By beckster02 on 10/1/2008 4:01:13 PM , Rating: 2
Can someone explain to me why no one is getting sued over the VCR, which allows me to make copies of movies I watch on TV? Heck, in that case I don't even own the movie!

How is that somehow okay, while making a backup copy of a movie I actually purchased is considered "stealing"?

It seems to me that if my VCR is legal, then so should RealNetworks DVD copying software. Are they exactly the same? No, but both still allow me to make and freely distribute copies of movies.

RE: So...
By Jimbo1234 on 10/1/2008 10:55:01 PM , Rating: 2
You still own a VCR? Wow.

RE: So...
By BCanR2D2 on 10/2/2008 6:24:38 AM , Rating: 2
I think you will find that most countries will have what is usually called 'Home Recording Act' which allows people to use the VCR, tape recorder, etc (generally analogue devices) to copy copyrighted material for personal use. You will also generally find that part of the cost of VHS tapes and other analogue media is to help pay for royalties foregone.

Even here in Australia, the copyright law itself never made the differenation between analogue or digital, but you heard every newspaper/magazine state that digital was illegal, but not analogue.

What I guess irks me the most is that these movies houses generally straddle both sides of the equation here. They will be part of one congolmeration of companies that has a movie studio, and also an electronic business. Sony is the easiest to bring to mind, as it owns Columbia/Tristar and then also sells DVD burners, generally packaged with software that can circumvent their own movie houses copyprotection..

“We do believe we have a moral responsibility to keep porn off the iPhone.” -- Steve Jobs

Copyright 2016 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki