RealNetworks have annonuced a new version of RealPlayer that includes one-click video ripping.
The free downloadable video player will allows users to save and organize video files in all major formats including Flash, QuickTime, RealMedia and Window Media and will support video ripping from sites such as YouTube, Google, Yahoo!, Brightcove, AOL and The New York Times.
The ability to rip online videos is not new. A number of programs are already available that provide a similar service yet this is the first time this level of functionailty has been offered in a high user base product.
The new RealPlayer will not download or record video that is DRM infected but will download everything else, placing it somewhere between headache and law suit for a bevy of content creators. Every content creator will now be challenged by the real possibility that if their product is DRM free, it’s likely to be ripped from the original source site and even burned to CD.
I may be exagerating the problem, and a true anti-DRM advocate would argue that consumers should be free to use content how and where they see fit. Yet content creators can impose copyright restrictions without the use of DRM and should be able to control the context of how and when a video is played back; the offer of free viewing does not automatically extend to an offer of free and unlimited use, take free to air TV or Radio as an example.
The new version of RealPlayer will be released in June. Sorry Mac users, no Real enabled ripping for you until later in the year, Windows only at this stage with support for Internet Explorer and Firefox.
(video via Beet.tv)