MPAA sues Real over RealDVD – the fools

In yet another ridiculous and short-sighted move, “the nation’s top movie companies” have filed suit against RealNetworks due to the release of RealDVD. Oh my god. Every time I think these heads of industry can’t get any more stupid, they do something like this.

What are they going to accomplish here? They’re telling consumers that they can’t back up their own DVDs — because that’s all RealDVD can do. It’s designed to respect DRM and restrict the DVDs’ usage, and whatever your position is on that, there can be no question that the MPAA’s position should have at the very least been one of grudging acquiescence. But these dinosaurs seem hell-bent on dragging the world kicking and screaming into the last century. If it’s any consolation, in a few years they’ll be fossils.

The full press release:

Motion Picture Studios File Lawsuit Against Realnetworks

LOS ANGELES, Sept. 30 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The nation’s top movie
companies filed a lawsuit today asking a federal court to stop RealNetworks
Inc. from distributing the company’s RealDVD software which allows movies
to be copied illegally. In their complaint and motion for a temporary
restraining order, the studios said that RealNetworks’ RealDVD violates the
Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) because its software illegally
bypasses the copyright protection built into DVDs that protect movies
against theft.

“RealNetworks’ RealDVD should be called StealDVD,” explained Greg
Goeckner, Executive Vice President and General Counsel for the Motion
Picture Association of America (MPAA). “RealNetworks knows its product
violates the law and undermines the hard-won trust that has been growing
between America’s movie makers and the technology community. The major
motion picture studios have been making major investments in technologies
that allow people to access entertainment in a variety of new and legal
ways. This includes online video-on-demand, download-to-own, as well as
legitimate digital copies for storage and use on computers and portable
devices that are increasingly being made available on or with DVDs. Our
industry will continue on this path because it gives consumers greater
choices than ever. However, we will vigorously defend our right to stop
companies from bringing products to market that mislead consumers and
clearly violate the law.”

The Content Scramble System (CSS) built into DVDs prevents the
unauthorized reproduction and distribution of copyrighted material released
in DVD format. The RealDVD software illegally circumvents this copyright
protection system. Among other things, the RealDVD software enables users
to engage in an illegal practice known as “rent, rip and return,” whereby a
person rents a DVD from a legitimate business like Blockbuster or Netflix,
uses the RealDVD software to make multiple permanent illegal copies of the
movie, and returns the DVD, only to rent another popular title and make
permanent copies of it, repeating the cycle of theft over and over again
without ever making a purchase. On its own Web site, RealNetworks
acknowledges that this behavior is illegal and that its software could be
used in that manner.

Motion pictures and television programs require substantial investments
of money, time, effort and creativity by hundreds or often thousands of
people, which must be recouped through many individual exhibitions, sales
and broadcasts of the works. DVD sales are a major source of revenues that
enable the studios to invest in and develop the wide range of entertainment
options available to consumers. The RealDVD software would enable massive
theft of creative content that would have a direct, negative impact on the
delivery of movies, television shows and other entertainment to consumers
through the home entertainment and digital distribution markets.

The lawsuit, filed today in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles asks for
damages and injunctive relief against RealNetworks Inc. for violations of
the Digital Millennium Copyright Act’s (DMCA) circumvention provisions. The
DMCA prohibits the manufacturing or trafficking of any technology or
product, service or device that is designed for the purpose of
circumventing measures that effectively protect copyrighted titles. In
manufacturing and selling RealDVD, RealNetworks Inc., a CSS licensee, has
attempted to leverage its license improperly by making a product that
permits users to circumvent the protections of CSS. Such a product was
never intended to be authorized by the CSS license.

The worldwide motion picture industry, including foreign and domestic
producers, distributors, theaters, video stores and pay-per-view operators
lose more than $18 billion annually as a result of movie theft. More than
$7 billion in losses are attributed to illegal Internet distributions,
while $11 billion is the result of illegal copying and bootlegging.