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Sales Of DVD Copying Software Halted By Judge

August 13, 2009

RealNetworks has been ordered by a U.S. judge to cease sales of its DVD copying software that film studios argued could be used as a tool by pirates to create bootleg copies of films, AFP reported.

District Court Judge Marilyn Patel in California handed down the injunction to RealNetworks on Wednesday.

The Seattle-based digital media specialty firm said in a release: “We are disappointed that a preliminary injunction has been placed on the sale of RealDVD. We’ll determine our course of action and will have more to say at that time.”

RealNetworks and several Hollywood studios went to court over the issue of selling technology to copy DVDs. The studio’s claim such software aided and increased the piracy of movies and television programs.

Dan Glickman, chairman of the Motion Picture Association of America, called the decision a victory for the creators and producers of motion pictures and television shows and for the rule of law in the digital economy.

He continued: “Judge Patel’s ruling affirms what we have known all along: RealNetworks took a license to build a DVD-player and instead made an illegal DVD-copier.”

Glickman said RealDVD demonstrated that it was willing to break the law at the expense of those who create entertainment content. However, RealNetworks argued that DVD buyers have the right to make backup copies of digital films or television shows they purchase.

The RealDVD software enables users to copy their digital films or other DVD content onto their computers.

The software began selling in September of 2008 for $29.99 a copy but sales were quickly halted after a temporary restraining order issued as litigation in the case began. Patel’s ruling extends the block on RealDVD sales.

Judge Patel said in a written ruling there was nothing to limit the number of times a DVD can be copied using RealDVD or to prevent rented or borrowed DVDs from being duplicated.

“While it may be fair use for an individual consumer to store a backup copy of a personally-owned DVD on that individual’s computer, a federal law has nonetheless made it illegal to manufacture or traffic in a device or tool that permits a consumer to make such copies,” Patel wrote.

The judge added that such tools are unable to distinguish between personal use copies of personally-owned DVDs and other sorts of copies for other commercial purposes.

Paramount, Sony, Disney, Twentieth Century Fox, and Warner Brothers were among the film studios involved in the case against RealNetworks.

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