by Mike Masnick
Tue, Sep 30th 2008 3:48pm
As was widely expected when RealNetworks announced plans to release some DVD ripping software, the lawsuits are now flying. RealNetworks rushed to court to ask for a declaratory judgment, though the MPAA admitted it had its own lawsuit ready to go as well. Real getting to the courthouse faster may mean slightly more favorable jurisdiction for the company. In the meantime, it seems like the MPAA is facing a huge uphill battle here, as Real's software includes its own DRM, so it's hardly a case of allowing widespread copying. Plus, making personal backups is allowed under copyright law. The real issue is where two conflicting parts of the law collide: the right to make personal backups and the DMCA's prohibition on circumventing DRM. Real claims that since it adds its own layer of DRM, the studios' DRM is not circumvented. That may make the most sense from the standpoint of the lawsuit, but it still seems like a strong case could be made by simply focusing on how people have a right to make personal backups. Of course, this lawsuit is something of a marketing stunt. There are better DVD rippers out there that are available for free, so it's difficult to see Real ever getting very far with this product, no matter what happens with the lawsuit.
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