Hollywood And RealNetworks Head To Court Over DVD Ripping

from the fun-to-watch dept

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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Filed Under: anti-circumvention, dmca, dvd ripping
Companies: 321 studios, mpaa, realnetworks


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  1. identicon
    DanC, 1 Oct 2008 @ 8:05am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    The confusion isn't helped by the federal government's website:

    http://www.copyright.gov/help/faq/faq-digital.html

    You are not permitted under section 117 to make a backup copy of other material on a computer's hard drive, such as other copyrighted works that have been downloaded (e.g., music, films).

    This seems to be in direct conflict with the Supreme Court ruling on time-shifting. Since time shifting is nothing more than copying material for viewing at a later time, it allows for the creation of an archival copy of copyrighted material (as long as it is used for non-commercial purposes).

    The ability to make an archival copy of purchased content is typically held to be fair use, and depending on what day of the week it is, even the RIAA sometimes agrees. Since the qualifications for fair use are not explicitly defined, it is uncertain at this point whether archival copies are considered to be legal. Despite the governments copyright website however, most of the rulings on the matter lean in the direction of allowing for noncommercial personal use.

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