Sue. Rent. Rip. Return.
Turns out RealNetworks Inc.’s new DVD ripper, RealDVD, is as legal as its creator is litigious. RealNetworks (RNWK) debuted RealDVD this morning and along with it, a preemptive lawsuit against the Hollywood interests that will inevitably attempt to litigate it into oblivion. Brought against the DVD Copy Control Association and a who’s-who of major studios, the suit asks the court to rule that RealDVD complies with the DVD Copy Control Association’s license agreement not only by retaining the “content scramble system” used to protect DVDs, but by enhancing it with an additional layer of digital rights management protection.
“RealNetworks took this legal action to protect consumers’ ability to exercise their fair-use rights for their purchased DVDs,” the company said in a statement. “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. For nearly 15 years RealNetworks has created innovative products that are fully legal, great for consumers, and respectful of the legitimate interests of content creators and rights holders. RealDVD follows in that tradition. We expect to successfully defend our right to make RealDVD available to consumers and consumers’ rights to use it.”
We’ll see, I guess. Clearly the silly little “RealDVD is for saving a DVD you own” disclaimer attached to the software isn’t going to cut it with Hollywood. I imagine we’ll be hearing from the Motion Picture Association of America before the day is out.