MPAA's Suit Against Real About Control And Innovation — Not Piracy
from the clarifying dept
As we’ve been writing about the MPAA’s odd lawsuit against RealNetworks for its RealDVD DVD ripping product, we’ve pointed out (multiple times) how it doesn’t make much sense. The problem was that there are tons of much more effective DVD ripping products out there. Unlike RealDVD, they don’t hobble the ripped copies. So, shutting down RealDVD doesn’t do anything to stop piracy — and if anything only increases it, as those who want to rip DVDs are more likely to just download one of those free products that don’t encumber the resulting rip with more DRM. Thus, people will still be copying DVDs, and will do so in a way that is a lot more “piratable” than if the MPAA let RealDVD live.
So why is the MPAA doing what it’s doing?
The EFF has stepped up with theory that makes a lot of sense: this has nothing to do with stopping piracy, and everything to do with controlling how innovation happens in the movie market. The movie studios that make up the MPAA believe that they own the movie business, and thus any innovation in the industry needs to come through them and get their approval. What Real is doing with RealDVD is ignoring the MPAA’s “approval” process, and effectively taking the path of innovation out of the studios’ hands.
If this sounds familiar, it’s because this has what’s been going on with almost all of the “anti-piracy” battles over the last decade. Napster wasn’t so much about stopping piracy (which of course, didn’t work in the slightest), but about the RIAA record labels freaking out that someone else (a college kid, no less) had established a much better and more efficient distribution mechanism without getting their approval and running it through their filter first.
Effectively, the Big Content players believe that they own their industries, and innovation should come from the top down through the paths that they choose. Thus, these sorts of lawsuits will continue until the management of these firms recognize that innovation is a bottom-up phenomenon. Or, the big firms go out of business. Whichever comes first.