RealNetworks was faced with legal action for the software the same day it was launched, on September 30 last year. While the company said that it was just trying to come up with a legal way for users to back up their movies to their hard drives, Judge Marilyn Hall Patel yesterday declared the program violates the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and the terms of the DVD CSS license because RealNetworks actively worked to circumvent the CSS license, which is there to prevent casual users from the unauthorized copying of copyrighted materials recorded on DVD-Video/Audio Discs.
Patel issued a preliminary injunction preventing RealNetworks from selling the RealDVD software. The preliminary injunction replaces a temporary injunction that has been in place ever since major studios (including Paramount, Sony, Universal Studios and Walt Disney) filed suit last September.
Patel last year extended the temporary injunction because she was unsure as to whether the technology was a violation or not. "I am extending the temporary restraining order because I’m not satisfied in the fact that this technology is not in violation," Patel said following the three-hour hearing. "There are serious questions about copyright violations. There are questions about violations of the (Digital Millennium Copyright Act), and violations of these companies’ agreement."
The ruling is unfortunate as it seems RealNetworks is genuine in its efforts to offer paying customers a way to watch movies they have paid for without the need for the DVD. That said, however genuine the company's efforts seem, RealNetworks did violate federal law. Who do you think is right in this instance? Let us know in the comments below.
Check out the full story here.