updated 02:05 pm EDT, Tue September 30, 2008
Studios to Sue Real
Several major studios plan to sue RealNetworks for what they believe is inherent copyright infringement in the company's RealDVD ripping software, according to a tip sent to the AP. Disney, Fox, Paramount, Sony, Universal and Warner are all said to believe that the software is deliberately bypassing the CSS encryption on DVD movies and so violating their copyrights. They also plan a temporary injunction on just-begun sales of the app, the unnamed source indicates.
RealNetworks has so far maintained that RealDVD avoids the legal issues that have blocked some apps as its approach doesn't strip the CSS from the movies themselves and thus doesn't allow copying beyond the permissions applied by the software itself. However, RealDVD currently allows more rights than the studios themselves and uses a custom copy protection system to distribute ripped movies to as many as five PCs that also have licenses for the software.
Movie houses have themselves acknowledged concerns about transferring DVDs and HD movies to computers and portable media players but have so far opted for solutions such as iTunes Digital Copy, which include a separate iPod-resolution file on the disc that can be imported into iTunes and shares the same multi-computer rights as iTunes downloads.