Judge sides with MPAA in case against Real Network’s RealDVD software that would allow consumers to make backup copies of purchased DVDs for personal use.
Chalk up another win for the MPAA and another loss for consumers. For US District Court Judge Marilyn Hall Patel has issued a permanent injunction against Real Networks DVD-backup software RealDVD.
The Judge declared that RealDVD, in order to make backup copies, would likely violate the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and the Content Scramble System (CSS) license.
If you recall, back in September of 2008 Real Networks launched RealDVD to allow users to make backup copies of purchased DVDs for private use. The MPAA immediately dubbed it “StealDVD” and filed a lawsuit to ban its sale.
The kicker is that the MPAA then said that making even one copy of a DVD is illegal, arguing that the price of a DVD is predicated on the “notion of certain use rights associated with certain price points,” and that it would have to change the price of DVDs (certainly upwards) if people wanted to be able to make copies.
In other words, it only charges $9.99 per DVD, for example, because it assumes it lasts for a finite period of time. If you want a DVD you can make copies of then the “price point” must be higher to reflect “expanded use rights.”
The MPAA’s statement after the verdict reaffirms these earlier sentiments.
“We are gratified by the successful conclusion of this important matter,” said Daniel Mandil, General Counsel & Chief Content Protection Officer for the MPAA. “Judge Patel’s rulings and this settlement affirm what we have said from the very start of this litigation: It is illegal to bypass the copyright protections built into DVDs designed to protect movies against theft. We will continue to vigorously pursue companies that attempt to bring these illegal
circumvention products and devices to market.”
So though you may buy the DVD the MPAA still gets to decide how, when, and where you can watch it.
And they wonder why people turn to piracy for content.
“(Real’s testimony) made it clear that Real was out to deliver to consumers a product that people wanted to see,” said Fred von Lohmann, the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s senior staff attorney, to CNet. “I think the message this sends is if you get into the business of enabling consumers to do with DVDs what they’ve long done with CDs, you’ll get sued out of the business. I think that’s bad news for consumers. What that means is that if you want to create a digital back-up of your movies, you have to pay for that a second time on iTunes.”
Even worse still is that Real Networks was reportedly working on a a DVD player/burner codenamed Fact that would’ve stored more than 70 movies on its internal HDD. This also no way to fight piracy. File-sharers simply turn to illegal alternatives, in many cases filling up 1TB HDD with hundreds of XViD copies of their favorite flics.
The MPAA insists in the same press release that “major motion picture studios continue to invest heavily in technologies that allow people to access entertainment in a variety of legal ways,” but what it’s not saying is that that “access” is coming with an increasingly burdensome price.
Consumers only want to pay for a product once and they be able to do with it as they please. So it’s a good thing there alternative software programs that do the same thing as RealDVD.