Six Hollywood Movie Studios Suing RealNetworks Over RealDVD Software

Posted Sep 30, 2008

RealNetworks, Inc. (NASDAQ:RNWK) should have saw this coming when they release their new controversial RealDVD software.  While RealPlayer already allows you to download any video from YouTube or powered by Flash, RealDVD allows you to rip DVDs and make back up copies.  RealDVD was officially launched today.  Six major studios announced that they are suing the software company over the software.

These studios believe that many of Netflix and Blockbuster’s customers would just burn the movies that they rent with the RealDVD software, thus causing them to lose out on a great deal of money.  The lawsuit was filed at the U.S. District Court in L.A. 

“The incentive for the consumer is obvious and all but overwhelming,” stated a request by the movie studios.  The request was for a temporary restraining order. “‘Why,’ he or she may ask, ‘should I pay $18.50 to purchase a DVD when I can rent it for $3.25 and make a permanent copy?'”

RealNetworks defends their software by saying it is legal.  RealDVD is sold for $30 per consumer at $20 for up to four licenses after that.  The software copy is locked into the original owner’s hard drive and does not alter the encryption technology used by movie studios already.  Copying one’s own personal copies of a DVD is “fair use” by law. 

The movie studios stated that RealDVD violates the Digital Millenium Copyright Act to bypass technologies that prevent the copying of a DVD without permission of the copyright owners.  The movie studios that are suing RealNetworks includes Viacom, Inc. (NYSE:VIA)’s Paramount Pictures, Sony Corporation (NYSE:SNE)’s Sony Pictures, News Corporation (NYSE:NWS.A)’s 20th Century Fox, General Electric (NYSE:GE)’s Universal, The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS) studio, and Time Warner Inc. (NYSE:TWX) Warner Bros.