RealDVD on Trial

By  |  Friday, April 24, 2009 at 5:38 pm

RealDVD logoRealDVD, the DVD-copying application from Real which I reviewed back in September during the brief period it was available before Hollywood stepped in and convinced a court to yank it, is fighting for its life in a San Francisco court. Wired has a good report on the proceedings so far. Maybe I’m just being pessimistic, but reading it leaves me thinking that U.S. District Judge Marilyn Hall Patel is inclined to side with Hollywood, not with Real and with the notion that consumers have the right to duplicates DVDs in a way that preserves copy protection, puts extreme limitations on what they can do with the copies, and makes it impossible for them to distribute them via file-sharing networks.

If RealDVD is ruled to be illegal, it’ll be sad. It’ll also be kind of silly.  Kaleidescape makes a neat home entertainment system that does something very similar to what RealDVD does–for thousands of dollars. Telestream’s $39 Drive-In is also much like RealDVD–but it runs only on Macs. And we seem to be nowhere near any scenario that involves users of DVD rippers such as Handbrake–which override copy protection altogether–being thrown in jail.

Basically, the only thing that prohibiting release of RealDVD does is to prevent Windows users who aren’t all that well-heeled–and who bend over backwards to respect copy protection–from creating digital copies of their DVDs for personal use. Everybody else can go on merrily copying their movies. Remind me again just what purpose would be served by eliminating it from the market?


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3 Comments For This Post

  1. brainwreckedtech Says:

    I sorta touch on this on my blog here, but this is another example of Hollywood putting the brakes on something in the name of control. Control they honestly don’t have outside of getting paid for a copy of their work.

    Real did their homework, copied the CSS protection scheme verbatim, and came up with an encryption scheme that prevented users from sharing files with one another. This just goes to show that it’s never been about preventing illegal copies but any copying whatsoever.

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