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RealNetworks’ Legal DVD Ripping Will Cost You

Today at DEMO, RealNetworks launched its own DVD “storage” service that allows a user to rip a DVD he owns onto his computer, an external hard drive or a flash drive. For $29.99 Windows users (Mac software will launch next year) can copy DVDs and watch them on their PCs. There is a free 30-day trial period as well. Unlike competing services such as HandBrake or Mac the Ripper, Real’s product is legal. But being above board is going to cost users in both dollars and storage.

There are three reasons the service is legal, according to RealNetworks VP Jeff Chasen, who showed the product. It doesn’t change the change the content of the DVD at all. No compression, no DRM cracking or sharing, but it does add an extra layer of 128-bit encryption to the stored file. In all, it means you need to have a heckuva lot of storage to store your DVD library (and even more for Blu-Ray), but with fancy terabyte drives in the sub-$500 range, that’s not a huge kicker. Second, you have to pay for the Real software for every computer you’re going to watch the movies on (the added Real encryption tracks this.) Chasen says a user can put the software on up to five computers to manage a single library of movies, and there will be discounts for buying multiple copies.

Finally, the courtroom defeat of industry players suing Kaliedescape, a startup that stored DVDs onto a hard drive, four years ago paved the way for a legit DVD storage service, Chasen says. That doesn’t address the issue of copying a Netflix DVD onto my computer, but so far RealDVD software has protected itself with a handy little statement that appears when trying to watch or rip a device. It reads, “RealDVD is for saving a DVD you own. If you do not own this DVD, select play.”

With cheaper storage and a way to make sure every DVD-watcher has a license to the software, the technology may be ready, but I doubt people’s scruples are.

7 Responses to “RealNetworks’ Legal DVD Ripping Will Cost You”

  1. Anothercopy

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  3. There seems to be no middle ground between a fair business model and the consumer’s fair use rights. The copyright holders need to be protected, but it’s not fair that consumers have to pay multiple times for the same content. You should be able to pay for one movie one time and be able to watch it’s on all different formats and devices. We should NOT have to pay multiple times for DVD, HD DVD Blu-Ray, iPod, PSP, mobile phones, etc. etc. Until a fair business model is developed, there will always be DVD copy software programs out there like 1 Click DVD Copy and DVDneXtCopy that enable users to rip, convert, burn and copy DVD movies. BTW, all the best DVD best burning programs are listed, ranked, reviewed and compared side-by-side at:

  4. Calculating: you worry about your government, and I’ll worry about mine. Seems like you’re making a mountain out of a mole-hill to me.

    If RealNetworks came out with HTPC software, I’d be really tempted to try it out.

  5. This is so rotten. Realmedia was the originator of spyware and nothing has changed. They will track everything you do. That is why hollywood allows this. Question is: When did Hollywood take over for DC in making the laws of the land? If you Americans want your freedom back you’re going to have to remove all of the congressional leaders who are in hollywoods hip pocket. Start by voting against everyone who said ‘yay’ or ‘no vote’ on the digital millenium act. You might need to form a new political party, because the two you’ve got are dirty and in everyone’s pocket. Ron Paul looks better every day, doesn’t he?

  6. this has potential for people like me that leave lying around so they get so scratched they wont play. the problem is it only supports computers so far. the beauty of doing it the “illegal” way is so i can have it in a format that would play on my 360, like i would if i had an apple tv or ps3. really all your doing is paying 30 dollars to watch your dvds only on the little monitors for the computers in your house. really unless they provide a way to watch it on something besides your computer. then this wont go anywhere fast.