RealDVD: Real Networks gets into the DVD copying games


Hold onto your hats, folks, as we’re about to be inundated with more and more chatter about fair use, your rights, and whether or not Real Networks just committed the worst crime in history. It should be a real hoot.

Real will release today Real DVD, a $30 Windows application that copies commercial DVDs to your hard drive. It doesn’t merely copy the video track from the DVD, though, as Real DVD is able to tap into some sort of metadata server, adding thing like movie descriptions, posters, etc. (Sounds a lot like what Plex does when using the Library mode.)

Users will need to use Real DVD to play the copied DVD file, which is a straight 1:1 copy of the DVD image. That means file sizes greater than 4GB.

Real says it can get away with this seemingly illegal act because it respects all copyright involved. The DVDs’ CSS isn’t stripped out, and Real adds an additional layer of DRM to the copied files, ensuring that they’re only played on authorized computers. (You can play the file back on as many as five different PCs.)

Note that Real isn’t really targeting “us” with this product, but rather is going after folks who aren’t prepared to download some esoteric DVD ripper via a shady Rapidshare link, then know what to do with a Video_TS file.

The program will be released into beta today for $30, but that price jumps to $50 sometime in the future.

via Ars Technica