The Associated Press and CNET are both seperately reporting that the major movie studios are set to file suit against Real over its DVD copying software, apparently ready to ask for a temporary restraining order to prevent distribution of RealDVD.
But as Harry pointed out bright and early this morning, Real has landed the first punch. The company is filing an action for declaratory judgement (see here for a definition) that asks the court to find that Real’s software is in compliance with the DVD Copy Control Association’s license agreement.
Real points out that it maintains some type of digital rights management when ripping the discs. Ripped files can only be played on computers owned by the copier. This would effectively prevent the file from being usable for those wishing to share it over P2P networks.
In its statement, Real points out the Kaleidescape case, where the DVD Copy Control Association sued the company for its ripping software, which allows entertainment enthusiasts to store their media content on a central home media server. Kaleidescape prevailed in that case.
Real argues that the legal action is intended to protect consumers.
“RealNetworks took this legal action to protect consumers’ ability to exercise their fair-use rights for their purchased DVDs … 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 those of us who don’t care much for the strong-arm tactics of the entertainment industry when it comes to copyright, this can be seen as nothing but good news. I give the early edge to Real on this, who is obviously taking every reasonable step to prevent illicit use of its software. What more does the MPAA expect?