Judge Extends Restraining Order On RealDVD

SAN FRANCISCO - U.S. District Judge Marilyn Patel has ordered RealNetworks to keep its DVD-copying software RealDVD off the market until she hears more from experts on how the product works.

RealDVD copies DVDs to a hard drive, storing the content so the consumer can watch movies anywhere without the physical disc.

The Seattle-based software manufacturer filed a federal lawsuit against the Hollywood studios and the DVD Copy Control Association last week, hoping to set a court precedent that the software is legal.

The Motion Picture Association of America sued RealNetworks in federal court the same day in Los Angeles, pointing out that RealDVD would enable consumers to rent DVDs and steal the copyrighted material without buying it. The MPAA lawsuit also says the software violates RealNetworks' agreement with the DVD CCA.

Judge Patel ordered RealNetworks to stop selling RealDVD on Friday. At a hearing Tuesday, she extended that temporary restraining order until after Nov. 17.

"I am extending the temporary restraining order because I'm not satisfied in the fact that this technology is not in violation," Patel said at a hearing Tuesday. "There are serious questions about copyright violations."

James DiBoise, RealNetworks' attorney, argued that RealDVD does not violate the company's agreement with the anti-piracy group because the software doesn't technically allow users to remove DVD copy protection.

"There is nothing in the agreement that says a physical disc has to be playing in a physical drive," DiBoise said. "That's not our fault. You have to make certain that you go through the authentication process."

The judge asked DiBoise whether the software allowed people who just rented a film to create and keep a copy. He answered: "Yes, but to watch it and not do anything else with it." 

Representing the MPAA, attorney Bart Williams attacked the software company's claims that RealDVD does not remove copy protection. He emphasized that the software would harm to the movie industry, allowing the public to steal copyrighted material at will.

The MPAA had asked RealNetworks to settle these issues in court before releasing RealDVD.

In her denial of RealNetworks' request to lift the restraining order, Judge Patel rebuked the company for rushing the software to market before going to court.

Source: CNET News