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RealNetworks Hit With Legal Action for DVD Copying Software

By - Source: Tom's Hardware | B 11 comments

In a recent, very left-field action – six major studios have filed a suit against RealNetworks for their ‘brand-new’ DVD copying software. RealDVD.

RealDVD adds an extra layer of copy protection while somewhat crippling DRM. Movies backed up with RealDVD can only be played on one computer, effectively limiting the portability of standard DRM which brings one to think about why you would use this software anyways.

The usefulness of RealDVD is what makes these recent legal suits interesting. It is somewhat boggling what the six big entities figure they are going to lose out on when it comes to RealDVD. It is ‘possible’ that Paramount Pictures, Twentieth Century Fox, Universal Studios, Warner Brothers, Columbia Pictures, Walt Disney and Sony are not happy with the potential misuse of DRM that RealNetworks is imposing with their added layer of extremely useless protection.

With the amount of freely available software available to perform the same functions with extremely less limitation, it is hard to imagine why someone would purchase RealDVD to begin with.

RealNetworks has apparently filed a countersuit which brings new light to the interpretation of Hollywood’s DVD licensing. Best case scenario? The best legal outcome would be to permit the use of crippled software like RealDVD – which nobody is going to pay for anyways.

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  • 0 Hide
    snarfies1 , October 1, 2008 7:27 PM
    Buffering...
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , October 1, 2008 7:38 PM
    Don't they have better things to do?
    I hate big business sometimes with the passion of a thousand angry housewives.
  • 3 Hide
    Anonymous , October 1, 2008 7:58 PM
    WRONG... Best legal outcome is Real Networks gets sued, goes bankrupt and ceases to exist.
  • Display all 11 comments.
  • 0 Hide
    Master Exon , October 1, 2008 8:10 PM
    ilikesoupWRONG... Best legal outcome is Real Networks gets sued, goes bankrupt and ceases to exist.

    Why?
  • 0 Hide
    evilshuriken , October 1, 2008 8:31 PM
    ^This man speaks the truth.
  • 0 Hide
    joex444 , October 1, 2008 8:34 PM
    Just go to RealDVD's website and pretend you're an idiot. See what they say you would want their software for. It actually makes some sense.

    Backup your DVDs on your PC, *Legally*. This implies other methods are not legal, such as DVDShrink which would be legal if you own the DVD.

    Leave your discs at home. Obviously useful on trips or people who travel.

    Protect your discs. Similar idea, pretend you have children who lose discs or think they go in the garbage disposal. What do you do when the disc doesn't play? You have no legal recourse to get a replacement disc, *even* though what you paid for was a license to view the movie at your house any time you desire. The company sold you this license and merely bundled a free dvd copy of the movie with some fancy packaging. I firmly believe this is what you purchase when you "buy a DVD." [Analogy: You buy a copy of Vista. Suppose you lose the disc, but have the key. Can you call up and have a replacement sent for essentially postage?]

    And finally: Simple to use, one click method.

    Remember than 95% of computer users are complete bone heads. Anything requiring thinking about anamorphic conversions, frame rate changes (PAL-NTSC), resolution, quantizers, bit rates and codecs will render them into a helpless human-based goo stuck to a chair. Seriously, you average user is incredibly stupid. We often forget that here, as nearly everyone who visits these type of sites has some sound working knowledge of PCs and possibly even how to work with video files and DVDs.

    My ultimate point: THG is unfairly assuming that RealDVD would never sell. I argue that it is designed to sell to the simple computer user, and this why the 6 studios are concerned.

    For example, suppose I were to say that the best way to copy a DVD is to use DVDDecrypter, then using DGIndex, HCEnc and AviSynth you allow DVDRebuilder to re-encode the entire DVD in 2 pass mode. This is, in fact, a good method, however is complicated and cumbersome for simple users. Namely, the output is 4.34GB and many would prefer 4.37GB -- you need to edit an INF file to change it. Or, how about going from DVDDecrypter set to IFO mode, you extract the M2V file and AC3 files, run the subtitle file through OCR to get an SRT. Then you load up DGIndex, apply a pulldown to the M2V file and output a D2V. Then you hand-type an AVS file which loads the M2V file and resizes and crops the video (from parameters you obviously get by using VirtualDub). Then you load the AVS into MeGUI, where you have custom set an x264 profile and calculate the bitrate you require based an some mathematical formulae you need to derive based on the media size you intend to use. Then you run 2 passes from DVD to x264, get a .264 file. Then you put the .264, .AC3, and .SRT file into an MKV file through MKVToolnix, being sure to specify the language, framerate, and framesize. Finally, you end up with an MKV file that you can use anywhere.

    Surprisingly, most people cannot follow all those steps. Furthermore, if they get hung up on just one step the whole process is an epic fail.

    So, RealDVD: stands a chance to actually be used by an average user, making it a threat to studios who have an interest in protecting their monopoly.

    Now, lost in all this is a very important question: Why would users too stupid to know how to encode DVDs with other means be savvy enough to defeat the DRM protection on RealDVD?
  • 0 Hide
    nekatreven , October 1, 2008 9:46 PM

    ilikesoupWRONG... Best legal outcome is Real Networks gets sued, goes bankrupt and ceases to exist.

    Master ExonWhy?


    I agree. Because...the only use I've ever had for any of their software has been when some idiot streams or releases content in their format.

    Their software has always been bloated IMO and they add several startup entries in the registry for updating and crap. If they just ceased to exist and all media in their formats was re-encoded into mp3 or wma or really any other format...I can't imagine who would ever miss them.

    This new useless software is just another example
  • 0 Hide
    Master Exon , October 1, 2008 9:56 PM
    Holy ****! I just realized that RealNetworks made Real Player!

    For those of you who don't know, finding files encoded in a RealPlayer format is the bane of torrent user's existence. The software is incredibly ****.

    Luckily, somebody invented RealAlternative.
  • 0 Hide
    estreetguy , October 1, 2008 10:28 PM
    joex444Just go to RealDVD's website and pretend you're an idiot. See what they say you would want their software for. It actually makes some sense.Backup your DVDs on your PC, *Legally*. This implies other methods are not legal, such as DVDShrink which would be legal if you own the DVD. Leave your discs at home. Obviously useful on trips or people who travel.Protect your discs. Similar idea, pretend you have children who lose discs or think they go in the garbage disposal. What do you do when the disc doesn't play? You have no legal recourse to get a replacement disc, *even* though what you paid for was a license to view the movie at your house any time you desire. The company sold you this license and merely bundled a free dvd copy of the movie with some fancy packaging. I firmly believe this is what you purchase when you "buy a DVD." [Analogy: You buy a copy of Vista. Suppose you lose the disc, but have the key. Can you call up and have a replacement sent for essentially postage?]And finally: Simple to use, one click method.Remember than 95% of computer users are complete bone heads. Anything requiring thinking about anamorphic conversions, frame rate changes (PAL-NTSC), resolution, quantizers, bit rates and codecs will render them into a helpless human-based goo stuck to a chair. Seriously, you average user is incredibly stupid. We often forget that here, as nearly everyone who visits these type of sites has some sound working knowledge of PCs and possibly even how to work with video files and DVDs.My ultimate point: THG is unfairly assuming that RealDVD would never sell. I argue that it is designed to sell to the simple computer user, and this why the 6 studios are concerned. For example, suppose I were to say that the best way to copy a DVD is to use DVDDecrypter, then using DGIndex, HCEnc and AviSynth you allow DVDRebuilder to re-encode the entire DVD in 2 pass mode. This is, in fact, a good method, however is complicated and cumbersome for simple users. Namely, the output is 4.34GB and many would prefer 4.37GB -- you need to edit an INF file to change it. Or, how about going from DVDDecrypter set to IFO mode, you extract the M2V file and AC3 files, run the subtitle file through OCR to get an SRT. Then you load up DGIndex, apply a pulldown to the M2V file and output a D2V. Then you hand-type an AVS file which loads the M2V file and resizes and crops the video (from parameters you obviously get by using VirtualDub). Then you load the AVS into MeGUI, where you have custom set an x264 profile and calculate the bitrate you require based an some mathematical formulae you need to derive based on the media size you intend to use. Then you run 2 passes from DVD to x264, get a .264 file. Then you put the .264, .AC3, and .SRT file into an MKV file through MKVToolnix, being sure to specify the language, framerate, and framesize. Finally, you end up with an MKV file that you can use anywhere.Surprisingly, most people cannot follow all those steps. Furthermore, if they get hung up on just one step the whole process is an epic fail. So, RealDVD: stands a chance to actually be used by an average user, making it a threat to studios who have an interest in protecting their monopoly. Now, lost in all this is a very important question: Why would users too stupid to know how to encode DVDs with other means be savvy enough to defeat the DRM protection on RealDVD?


    Holy ballz - go be a journalist somewhere with your huge epic fail comments.
  • 0 Hide
    michaelahess , October 1, 2008 11:32 PM
    I just use dvdshrink, about what...two clicks? But joex444 is right, 99% of computer users are complete idiots....maybe 99.999995%

    Real has sucked since it was first introduced, I wish they'd go away.
  • 0 Hide
    WheelsOfConfusion , October 2, 2008 3:41 AM
    I think the best outcome is one where the movie industries are reminded that it should be legal for people to make their own copies of DVDs they own and that crippling DRM might be violating those rights.
    And maybe Real dying in tragic instance of spontaneous combustion.