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Summary:

RealNetworks announced the availability of its RealDVD DVD “storage” software, and doubled-down on the sure-to-be controversial product by pre-emptively announcing a lawsuit against the major Hollywood studios.

RealNetworks announced the availability of its RealDVD DVD “storage” software, and doubled-down on the sure-to-be controversial product by pre-emptively announcing a lawsuit against the major Hollywood studios. From the press release:

“In response to threats made by the major movie studios, RealNetworks this morning plans to file an action for a declaratory judgment against DVD Copy Control Association, Inc., Disney Enterprises, Inc., Paramount Pictures Corp., Sony Pictures Entertainment, Inc., Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp., NBC Universal, Inc., Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc., and Viacom, Inc., in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. The lawsuit asks the court to rule that RealNetworks Home Entertainment, Inc.’s RealDVD software, made available to consumers today at http://www.realdvd.com, fully complies with the DVD Copy Control Association’s license agreement.”

Announced at DEMO earlier this month, the RealDVD software allows users to copy entire movies from DVDs onto an PC (no Mac support until next year), external storage drive or flash drive. The company believes that the RealDVD service is legal because it does not alter the original file (no compression, no DRM cracking), plus an added encryption layer that only allows you to play back the movies on licensed computers (you have to pay for a separate license for each PC). The court has previously sided with a similar DVD storage product called Kaleidascape.

RealDVD is only supposed to be used with DVDs you own (good luck with that), and the company is trying to cover its derriere by adding a disclaimer “RealDVD is for saving a DVD you own. If you do not own this DVD, select play” before you copy a DVD. Perhaps sensing that a flimsy statement might not be enough, RealNetworks filed suit to protect itself.

At DEMO, Real told us that Hollywood studios were aware of RealDVD and the two sides were continuing talks. We have contacted Real to find out specifically which studios and which threats the press release is referring to, and the company has said it will provide further details later this morning.

Honestly, this seems more like a marketing ploy than Real drawing a line in the sand to protect consumer’s rights. While Real was a pioneer in the new media space with its RealPlayer more than a decade a ago, the online video revolution passed the company by, and it must now create controversy to maintain the appearance of relevancy.

For those interested in checking out RealDVD, we have 20 free invites for you to check it out. If you want one, leave a message with your real email address and we’ll send you the information. First come, first served.

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  1. Guess their marketing push of being part of the DVD Copy Control Association as a sign of legitimacy was BS misdirection, since they’re now filing suit against them. Does anyone even care about this software package, anyway? I tend to agree with you – it’s a move designed to attract attention.

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  2. Fernando Escudero Tuesday, September 30, 2008

    I agree with Dave. seems that Real is trying to get some of that relevance they used to have 10 years ago. I still remember RealOne Player. What a fiasco.

    Oh, and I’d love to try that new RealDVD, although I don’t expect too much from it. There are already plenty of solutions to back up our own movies.

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  3. I’d definitely like to check it out! I’d be interested to find a Real product I actually like. Thanks NewTeeVee!

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  4. @Everyone,

    If you want test out RealDVD, you need to leave your email address. (please)

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  5. Looks an interesting case! Whatever the case is we – consumers want a good way of referring to all DVDs we buy in our lifetime. We can’t manage all DVDs, we need to copy it to access them anytime!

    Would like to try out RealDVD – prashant dot sachdev at gmail

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  6. [...] have beaten them to the punch. Earlier this morning the company issued a press release saying that, “In response to threats made by the major movie studios,” it was filing suit, asking a court to rule that RealDVD “fully complies with the DVD Copy [...]

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  7. Scott Persinger Tuesday, September 30, 2008

    Sure, I’m interested to check out the new RealDVD product.

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  8. [...] lawsuits almost simultaneously, with Real getting the first punch in, pre-emptively asking for a declatory judgment and the studios wanting sale of the product blocked, saying it violates [...]

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  9. I’m a french journalist and I’m interested in testing RealDVD! :) Thank you so much.

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  10. [...] holidays through Feb which will confuse cable subscribers into buying new TVs they don’t need. Real Launches DVD Copying, Files Suit Guess their marketing push of being part of the DVD Copy Control Association as a sign of [...]

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