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.

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Companies: eff, mpaa, realnetworks

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Comments on “MPAA's Suit Against Real About Control And Innovation — Not Piracy”

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Agonizing Fury says:

Re: Re:

This is one lawsuit that I will be watching very closely. If voted the right way (I.E. the judges vote according to the law, not based on how much money the MPAA will line their pockets) it should result in us finally having a legal way of doing what I already do. I do not to put DVDs (or Blue-Rays) in my player every time I want to watch them. So, every DVD in my collection is ripped to my hard drive, and added to my Home Theater PC. (Blue rays are a little more complex and I won’t get into those). What would be really nice is a Legal Method of doing this. If the courts vote on Real’s side, there will all sorts of technologies that can be released making the value of a movie significantly higher for me.

Anonymous Coward says:

Having read the linked article, two things jump out at me.

First, the author despises the DMCA (and likely the Sono Bono Act as well).

Second, he has a rather “unique” perspective about “fair use” under our copyright laws.

Sorry to disagree, but this is one instance where Real should have its hat handed to it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

What does the author’s feelings (or your perception of his feelings) about the DMCA and the Sony Bono Act have to do with this? Real’s action, despite the much despised DMCA, was and is perfectly legal, since they properly licensed the technology (they did not reverse-engineer it).

And what does the author’s perspective on the Fair Use Doctrine (that is not a quoted phrase, as you have done, indicating you don’t think there is such a thing as fair use), and his view isn’t all that “unique” (by which I’m sure you mean “incorrect”). The author’s view is the same view as held by our court system.

So, sorry to disagree, but this is where you and your MPAA brethren should have YOUR hats handed to you. After all, you are an MPAA shill, aren’t you?

Your Gawd and Master says:

Re: Re:

Hey, glad to see the shills at the MPAA are trolling here once again.

I know you’re sorry to disagree because you obviously have no concept of how copyright is supposed to work(pre-DMCA) and seem to have even less clue how it works now post-DMCA. It’s not “unique” to believe we should be able to make backup copies of our media any more than it is unique to demand that IF we truly were given a license to use the content then we shouldn’t be forced to buy it every time the medium changes.

If that flies over your head let me pull out the crayons for ya..

I have the right to watch my movies when I want and where I want and as such have the right to make backup copies to prevent my originals from being destroyed or stolen. If I don’t own the movies but am getting a license to view them whenever I want then if my movie is stolen, scratched, etc. then I shouldn’t be forced to buy the media again since I already bought the license to watch it.

Now how about answering some of those questions by those who replied before I did.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

no offense mike, but I dislike your argument. I agree with your view, but “it doesn’t slow/stop X, so why do Y?” is not a very good argument that is used in many things, it is used against me when I tell people that I don’t for in Presidential elections for various reasons.

some times people do things based on the principle of the thing, even though they do no actual good.

Mike (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

I agree with your view, but “it doesn’t slow/stop X, so why do Y?” is not a very good argument that is used in many things

That’s not quite what I said, though. In this case, the RIAA is saying that they’re doing Y specifically to stop X. If the end result then is that it doesn’t stop X, isn’t it reasonable to question why do Y or to question if the real reason for Y is something else?

some times people do things based on the principle of the thing, even though they do no actual good.

Honestly, to me that seems like a much weaker argument than why do Y if it doesn’t succeed in accomplishing X. What good does it do to stand up on principle when the end result is that everyone is worse off? What sort of principle is that??

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

ok, I see your point, I interpreted what you originally said as a “it doesn’t work, so why try?” statement. I see how you meant it however, figure something lost in translation.

What good does it do to stand up on principle when the end result is that everyone is worse off? What sort of principle is that??

I agree, but as far as the RIAA and MPAA see it, it does do some good, in colleges kids are repeating the same BS that they learn about copyright and some of them, perhaps more than if the content police weren’t so vocal, actively discourage other kids from downloading.

Debunked says:

Small Nit-pick

Mike quote:
“Thus, these sorts of lawsuits will continue until the management of these firms recognize that innovation is a bottom-up phenomenon.”

Innovation can happen bottom-up or top-down. I would grant you that more often than not it is bottom-up but there are still examples (which I am too lazy to go into) of top-down.


Anonymous Coward says:

i haven’t been inside a theater, nor have i rented a movie, in 6 years. as long as the mpaa exists i never will. how many of you big media content addicted boneheads can say that? not very many i’ll bet. you’ll keep going to the movies and saying screw mpaa/riaa and nothing will ever change. the only way to make things change is to boycott their content.

Stewie Griffin is cool says:


Music is easily ripped to a computer (legally), why not DVD’s (legally). There is no purpose in this suit or in trying to shutdown RealDVD. This is an issue about control, similar to what the article is saying.

I don’t mind DRM as long as I have some freedom (open to all external players, etc). I am a college student so my life is in my laptop and iPod and I seriously don’t want to carry around DVD’s or buy a digital copy of a movie I already have for portability. RealDVD creates a balance that could please the producers and consumers and I hope the court decides in their favor.

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