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RealNetworks, Film Industry Headed To Court

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the in-your-face-film-industry dept.

The Courts 173

netbuzz writes "Apparently tired of waiting to be sued by the movie studios over its new DVD-to-PC copying software, RealNetworks this morning announced it will file a preemptive lawsuit in an attempt to authoritatively establish that the product does not infringe on copyright restrictions. Within an hour or so, the Motion Picture Association of America said it would have a litigation announcement of its own this afternoon."

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173 comments

Hey look at me (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25206127)

RealNetworks is saying "Hey look at me everyone! Why doesn't anyone ever notice me?"

wait just a minute here (5, Insightful)

lysergic.acid (845423) | more than 5 years ago | (#25206335)

does RealNetworks' DVD copying software _charge users $20_ for burning DVDs playable on multiple computers (still limited to a maximum of 5)?

how can they purport to be a champion of consumer rights/fair use when they're charging users to burn copies of their own DVDs and restricting users from playing these copies from more than 5 computers?

and who exactly are users paying the $20 to for being able to play their copies on more than one computer if not the MPAA or film makers? they actually have the galls to charge users for an additional license fee on works that they don't hold the rights to, and then they're turning around and saying that they're defending fair use rights? what a load of BS.

consumers should be allowed to make backups of their purchases without DRM and usage restrictions. they shouldn't have to pay for the right to make DVD copies that are playable on multiple computers, much less pay RealNetworks for that right.

Re:wait just a minute here (3, Interesting)

clang_jangle (975789) | more than 5 years ago | (#25206553)

But judgements set precedents. So maybe this particular battle is just theatre, i.e. MPAA sets up Real to "oppose" them in a non-meaningful and indefensible manner, MPAA wins judgement which sets far-reaching precedent that takes away more consumer Fair Use rights. As evil as Real Networks has historically been, it certainly wouldn't be shocking.

Re:wait just a minute here (1, Insightful)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 5 years ago | (#25206559)

They're charging $20 for the software. You've never heard of anyone paying for software?

Re:wait just a minute here (1)

lysergic.acid (845423) | more than 5 years ago | (#25206663)

i wasn't referring to the price of the software, i was referring to the additional fees charged for each DVD you burn if you want to play it on multiple computers.

from the /. summary:

the program does have significant limitations: the DVDs it makes will only be playable on the computer where they were created; or, users can pay $20 per computer to play the DVDs on up to five additional computers.

Re:wait just a minute here (4, Informative)

Kamots (321174) | more than 5 years ago | (#25206801)

You misread. You pay "$20 per computer" that you want ALL of your ripped DVDs to play on. It's per additional computer that you want authorized to get past thier own DRM crap.

Re:wait just a minute here (3, Insightful)

lysergic.acid (845423) | more than 5 years ago | (#25206851)

well, i guess that's a little better. but still, why should i have to pay RealNetworks for the right to play my DVD rips/backups on other computers? i can understand if they want to charge me for additional licenses for the DVD-burning application, but charging for access to my own backup data via DRM? who's digital rights are they managing here? certainly not theirs since they do not own the copyright on the DVDs being copied?

Copyright (Re:wait just a minute here) (1, Offtopic)

HikingStick (878216) | more than 5 years ago | (#25207643)

They copyright owner has certain rights to control the content, regardless of whether or not you've ripped it to disk or another medium. IMO, once you make the initial purchase ( a la the first sale doctrine), the rights of the copyright owner should diminish, but there should still be some prohibitions in place (e.g., making reproductions for profit, duplication and distribution with the intent of denying the copyright holder income). I write songs. If someone buys a disc or CD with my music, I don't care if they make copies or put it on every media player in the house--I made my dime. If they want to start duplicating CDs and giving them to some of their closest friends, I'm okay with that. If they want to burn dozens or hundreds of my CDs and distribute them broadly, or sell them at a local flea market or garage sale, then they are out of line. If another artisit wants to record one of my songs, they should pony up the dollars. If some kid wants to play my song at a talent contest, let him.

Re:wait just a minute here (3, Insightful)

dlsmith (993896) | more than 5 years ago | (#25206841)

The summary's "$20 per computer" really just refers to the cost of a software copy on each machine. If Apple sold iTunes, it would be the same: you have to buy a copy of the software for each machine on which you want to use it. Nothing surprising there.

Re:wait just a minute here-THE ONLY DVDs WORTH BUR (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 5 years ago | (#25206575)

does RealNetworks' DVD copying software _charge users $20_ for burning DVDs playable on multiple computers (still limited to a maximum of 5)?

The only DVDs worth burning are those that play in your plain vanilla DVD player sitting on the shelf below your television, or in your portable player. To call anything else DVD movie burning is a misstatement of the facts!

Re:Hey look at me (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 5 years ago | (#25207085)

RealNetworks is saying "Hey look at me everyone! Why doesn't anyone ever notice me?"

Yes, they're saying to the people that'll spend ridiculous amounts of money fighting them in court "Look at me!" Attention whores.

Appropriately tagged as entertainment (2, Funny)

dilvish_the_damned (167205) | more than 5 years ago | (#25206133)

Because well, it just is. At least for me.

You think this is funny?!!? (4, Funny)

Mateo_LeFou (859634) | more than 5 years ago | (#25208325)

I bet you didn't know that, ahem ..

"The worldwide motion picture industry, including foreign and domestic producers,
distributors, theaters, video stores and pay-per-view operators lose more than $18 billion
annually as a result of movie theft. More than $7 billion in losses are attributed to illegal
Internet distributions, while $11 billion is the result of illegal copying and bootlegging."

http://www.mpaa.org/press_releases/realdvd%20press%20release%209%2030%2008%20final.pdf [mpaa.org]

Real...buffering..Networks (5, Funny)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 5 years ago | (#25206143)

vs the MPAA.

Nope, I give up. I can't decide which I want to lose.

Real vs MPAA (4, Funny)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 5 years ago | (#25206189)

If we're really lucky, they both will spend exorbitant amounts of money litigating, and then the judge will award $1 to the plaintiff.

Re:Real vs MPAA (2, Funny)

philspear (1142299) | more than 5 years ago | (#25207215)

If we're even luckier the judge, bored out of his mind, decides a deathmatch is the way to go. Two executive boards enter, part of one executive board leaves.

Re:Real...buffering..Networks (5, Insightful)

the_humeister (922869) | more than 5 years ago | (#25206203)

You want Real Networks to win. If they win, everyone (but the MPAA) wins. If the MPAA wins, everyone else loses.

Re:Real...buffering..Networks (1)

redxxx (1194349) | more than 5 years ago | (#25206717)

Right, we want them to win in the courts so there is legal precedent and the way is opened for others to provide similar services.

We want the market to kill off the service(after new investments in infrastructure), because Real sucks and the service is retarded.

Both parties loose and everyone else wins.

Re:Real...buffering..Networks (2, Insightful)

Sloppy (14984) | more than 5 years ago | (#25206823)

If they win, everyone (but the MPAA) wins.

Actually, the MPAA wins too. They just don't understand it yet. The better your product works, the more valuable it is and the more of it you'll sell.

It is in the MPAA's direct financial interest that as many people as possible, defeats the MPAA's DRM ASAP.

Re:Real...buffering..Networks (1)

philspear (1142299) | more than 5 years ago | (#25207233)

It is in the MPAA's direct financial interest that as many people as possible, defeats the MPAA's DRM ASAP.

FYI, the FBI's TGIF is BYOB, OK? LOL, BRB.

Re:Real...buffering..Networks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25207727)

The MPAA only exists because the studios think it is necessary. If the studios knew they could make more money without suing people, the MPAA probably would receive less funding.

Re:Real...buffering..Networks (1, Funny)

AstrumPreliator (708436) | more than 5 years ago | (#25206241)

It's like asking, "Would you rather be kicked in the nuts or punched in the face?"

Re:Real...buffering..Networks (2, Funny)

Amouth (879122) | more than 5 years ago | (#25206817)

you ever been kicked in the nuts? even by accident? i'll take a bat the face before i experience that again

Re:Real...buffering..Networks (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 5 years ago | (#25206253)

Can't have have a matter/anti-matter explosion or something, wiping them both out? But as a good number two, I'd rather have RealNetworks win this one since I still wouldn't buy anything from them.

Re:Real...buffering..Networks (5, Insightful)

R2.0 (532027) | more than 5 years ago | (#25206351)

There's a quote from Henry Kissinger regarding the Iran-Iraq War that is apropos: "The only problem with this war is that only one side can lose."

Re:Real...buffering..Networks (1)

halcyon1234 (834388) | more than 5 years ago | (#25206435)

With all due respect to Mr. Kissinger, King Pyrrhus [wikipedia.org] would like to disagree.

Re:Real...buffering..Networks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25207111)

... with this war...

Re:Real...buffering..Networks (1)

halcyon1234 (834388) | more than 5 years ago | (#25207687)

(feeding the trolls, I know)...

And since a Pyrrhic victory can occur in ALL wars, and this war exists in the set of ALL wars, this war can end with a Pyrrhic victory, and thus both sides can lose.

Re:Real...buffering..Networks (1)

megamerican (1073936) | more than 5 years ago | (#25206665)

"Political satire became obsolete when Henry Kissinger was awarded the Nobel Prize."

-Tom Lehrer

Re:Real...buffering..Networks (1)

blind biker (1066130) | more than 5 years ago | (#25206537)

Nope, I give up. I can't decide which I want to lose.

For me it's easy: I want the MPAA to be bitchslapped. As much as I hate Realplayer, I hate the MPAA 50 times more.

Re:Real...buffering..Networks (1)

Abreu (173023) | more than 5 years ago | (#25206573)

I'd like Real Networks to win, establishing useful precedents for the rest of us, but ending up bankrupt in the process...

Re:Real...buffering..Networks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25207407)

I'd like Real Networks to win, establishing useful precedents for the rest of us, but ending up bankrupt in the process...

I mean this as an honest question: why all the hate? Yes, they produced an awful media player and format, but to give them credit, they've not shut down Real Alternative. They can't hurt you unless you install their software.

Re:Real...buffering..Networks (1)

hob42 (41735) | more than 5 years ago | (#25207937)

The first live video I streamed was one of the presidential debates in 1996 from CNN, using RealVideo over a 33.6 dialup on a 33MHz SGI - just for the novelty value, since my parents were watching it on the TV in the other room.

I thought Real took a bad turn with G1 or whatever it was called, and for years I kept finding and installing the old "classic" realplayer when I set up new systems. I couldn't stand the gaudy interface, the required registration, the nagging "message center" popups on my taskbar, the "guide" that wanted to stream advertisements whenever I started the player, and so on. Of course, these days, that's just par for the course - a dozen apps know my email address, everything in the world wants to blink popups at me when I boot up (Live Mesh is starting! You have new email! Your printer is low on ink!), and who could possibly want a media player that didn't have funky gadgets and non-standard window dressings?

Whuh? (4, Informative)

David Gerard (12369) | more than 5 years ago | (#25206153)

When did Real become non-evil?

(RealPlayer for Linux is actually a really good media player. Works well, plays everything, none of the quasi-spyware behaviour it was famous for on Windows. CULTURE SHOCK!)

Re:Whuh? (1)

sgant (178166) | more than 5 years ago | (#25206171)

Not sure I understand what they're doing. They're not being sued by anyone so they're going to court to sue to make sure no one sues them?

LOL, WUT?

Re:Whuh? (1)

compro01 (777531) | more than 5 years ago | (#25206515)

They're getting tired of the legal threat hanging over their heads, so they're starting the fight on their own terms.

Re:Whuh? (5, Insightful)

Skye16 (685048) | more than 5 years ago | (#25206533)

I've heard of it before. It has to do when someone is threatening you with a lawsuit, but not following through. Rather than let that threat of a lawsuit affect your stock price, allowing the fear of it to affect your strategery, etc, it's best to just demand the court's rule and get it over with.

Essentially, it's calling in a game of poker. Only rather than letting the cards do the talking, you're letting the judge settle it.

Re:Whuh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25207411)

So can someone do this to MS over their patent rumblings? Like Red Hat or Canonical?

Re:Whuh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25206535)

I'm not a lawyer, so my understanding of this might be a bit off-- but is Real Networks suing themselves?

And why am I reminded of Liar, Liar? "I'm kicking my ass!"

That's what Red Hat did to SCO (4, Informative)

Xtifr (1323) | more than 5 years ago | (#25207269)

When SCO was going around saying they were going to sue Linux users for vague, unspecified "IP" claims, Red Hat preemptively sued SCO, telling them, essentially, to put-up-or-shut-up about their claims.

http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=169 [groklaw.net] (from 2003).

Re:Whuh? (1)

Zordak (123132) | more than 5 years ago | (#25207357)

It's called declaratory judgment, and it's done all the time, for lots of reasons. For example, if i sue on DJ, I get to pick the venue instead of the other guy.

Re:Whuh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25206261)

RealPlayer for linux is nice, with keyboard navigation controls. For some reason, Real doesn't support it on any other platform.

Re:Whuh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25206987)

What you call spyware is what we in the web 2.0 world take for granted. You tell me Google, Yahoo, Amazon, NewEgg, iTMS, QuickTime, TiVo any internet service is not collecting aggregate information on you.? Real's marketing department was just ahead of its time. All that crap they did we now accept as part of the price for using their internet services :)

Re:Whuh? (1)

British (51765) | more than 5 years ago | (#25207047)

(RealPlayer for Linux is actually a really good media player. Works well, plays everything, none of the quasi-spyware behaviour it was famous for on Windows. CULTURE SHOCK!)

Perhaps the developers of RealNetworks haven't yet figured out how to incorporate spyware, etc, and 200 other annoyances into Linux yet.

All lawsuits aside, RealNetworks is a company that has a horrible product that hasn't kept up with the rest of the world. The only innovations they have done are negative ones, such as bundling excess junk onto one product, and reminding you to buy it. I'm honestly surprised they are still in business.

Re:Whuh? (1)

David Gerard (12369) | more than 5 years ago | (#25208395)

I installed the Linux realplayer to listen to BBC. I'm still surprised by how usable and well-behaved it is. (It's their open-sourced Helix player with their proprietary codec added.)

Re:Whuh? (1)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 5 years ago | (#25207131)

Can't say I've ever used Helix. Nor that I ever will. Mplayer and VLC do everything I need, so I don't need some company's trash.

Speaking as a once paying customer of Real (5, Informative)

thermian (1267986) | more than 5 years ago | (#25207165)

I bought RealJukebox and really liked it. The license said I had access to upgrades for the lifetime of the product. This purchase included the full version of RealPlayer too, with no adverts.

Then they changed the license terms within months (at the time they introduced OnePlayer) and said I had to repurchase at full price if I wanted to upgrade to OnePlayer. Oh, and they discontinued RealJukebox, and I wasn't allowed to update my copy of standalone realplayer either without paying the full licence fee again.

I wouldn't have minded a small upgrade fee I guess, although I would have grumbled, but I paid a fair bit for my original licence, and I was pissed off that it got junked so fast.

The chances of my paying for or using a RealNetworks product again are pretty much nonexistant.

Re:Whuh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25207691)

Real has been much less evil for quite a while now. As you said, RealPlayer works well on Linux. Their Rhapsody streaming music service has been cross-platform for a few years now. It works on Windows, Mac, and Linux with the use of a Firefox plugin. You can also buy lots of DRM-free tracks from Rhapsody as well.

All things considered, Real has been 'non-evil' for a long time, but most Slashdotters seem to be too busy trying to think of a "Buffering..." joke to take notice.

Re:Whuh? (1)

gravis777 (123605) | more than 5 years ago | (#25207859)

I like the codec well enough. I mean, it works for what it does. I mean, if you have buffering issues, either you do not have enough bandwidth, the server does not have enough bandwidth, or one of you just have a crappy ISP no matter how much bandwidth you have.

On Windows, I use Real Alternative. Let's me play Real content in either Windows Media Player (gasp! something even worse than Real Player) or VLC (YAY!!!!).

My question is, when did Real become evil? Was it when they decided they were going to take over all your media files? Practically any media player you install does that, and gives you the option to have it not to. Maybe it was when they decided it was going to launch on startup. Doesn't every other program do that as well(relatively speaking, not all programs do)? And you can also turn that off. Maybe it was when they decided to offer a pro version to go along side their free version that they have been offering since the begining, with only slighly more features than the free version.

No really, I am not a big fan, but I do not call them evil, so I want to know, why do others call them evil? Since when did it become evil to innovate, then give away a free version of it, and offer a pay version with only slightly more features? And didn't they also opensource the protocol and the encoding software with Helix? So, please, tell me, what makes Real evil?

Re:Whuh? (1)

David Gerard (12369) | more than 5 years ago | (#25208119)

RealPlayer was famously the most obnoxious useful software on Windows in the 1990s. Getting rid of it was like clearing kudzu. After that, it's jawdropping that the Linux client is quite well-behaved.

Preemptive? (1)

RobBebop (947356) | more than 5 years ago | (#25206207)

Real looks to be pulling a publicity stunt. I bet their original game play was to get the MPAA to sue them to attract attention to their terrible company to drive revenues up. The best response for the MPAA would be to ignore this with the expectation that nothing Real can do will save their company and to claim that there are individual pirates on the P2P networks who deserve more attention than Real's childishness.

Also, preemptive lawsuit? WTF?

Re:Preemptive? (4, Insightful)

Xtifr (1323) | more than 5 years ago | (#25207539)

Real looks to be pulling a publicity stunt.

Possibly, or possibly they're trying to protect their own interests, much as Red Hat was when they preemptively sued SCO.

to attract attention to their terrible company

Ah yes, we all know that companies never change: IBM is still a hostile predator who refuses to acknowledge any software that wasn't developed in-house. They'd never in a million years consider supporting something as alien as Linux.

The nineties called and want their whine back (as well as their stale "decade X called and wants its Y back" joke). :)

I find it ironic when Windows users whine about Real (and in my experience, it's only Windows users that whine about Real). Everything they complain about in Real is among the reasons I stopped using ... er, actually, never really started using ... Windows. What's the difference between MS and Real? Real's main product is 90% open source, they actively support the community development efforts, their software has been bundled with Debian for years (at least, the 90% which meet the DFSG), they actively support Linux, and they seem to have made a massive effort to change their corporate culture since they hit rock-bottom in the early part of this decade (not unlike how IBM changed after bottoming out after the PS2 disaster). But some people can't forget the fact that they once saw an ad ten years ago, so Real will be evil forever. Dumbasses! :)

Great! (5, Informative)

TheSpoom (715771) | more than 5 years ago | (#25206271)

*continues to use DVD Shrink [dvdshrink.org] for free anyway since it has no DRM*

Re:Great! (1)

CyberLord Seven (525173) | more than 5 years ago | (#25207083)

DVD Shrink is nice for it's simplicity, but when you really want to rip a DVD without losing quality you must use DVD DeCrypter and IFO-Edit. They work great without any loss of quality.

Good luck finding them, though. It's been a few years since I last saw them hosted in Finland (I think). If you didn't grab them a few years back I think you are SOL.

Re:Great! (5, Insightful)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 5 years ago | (#25207157)

*continues to use mencoder [mplayerhq.hu] since it is maintained and community developed*

Re:Great! (5, Funny)

thrillseeker (518224) | more than 5 years ago | (#25207739)

one day I hope to finish reading the manpage for it

Re:Great! (2, Informative)

marsu_k (701360) | more than 5 years ago | (#25208277)

Feeling lazy? Try k9copy [sourceforge.net]. I used to use DVD Shrink via wine before (works relatively fine), but native programs are always better.

Re:Great! (1)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 5 years ago | (#25208409)

Makes for good bathroom reading. I've printed both the manpage and HTML documentation out for handy reading. I think it totals in the neighborhood of 200 pages.

Ironic it will be, young padawan (1)

alexborges (313924) | more than 5 years ago | (#25206289)

When the court decides its legal to rip the dvd's, but only with spyware that hinders your boxen and shows you naked celeb-titties and is well branded by a reputable name like real networks.

None of that commie-hippie linux-shit, no sireee.

Re:Ironic it will be, young padawan (3, Funny)

db32 (862117) | more than 5 years ago | (#25206461)

Whoa whoa whoa now. I think the lack of naked celeb-titties in other DVD copying software is pretty big missing feature. Don't act so smug when they clearly have the superior product. Seriously, what are you worried about with the spyware in this case? If it shows naked celeb-titties while ripping DVDs are you actually going to use that computer for anything other than ripping mass quantities of DVDs?

Re:Ironic it will be, young padawan (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25206677)

Damn just tried it, no naked celeb-titties, and no spyware. So I guess that makes you a liar.

Double Jeopardy (1)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 5 years ago | (#25206295)

Better be judged now when no big trouble has been found yet (so ruled not guilty) than later, when a really big problem/example could be found. If they pass the actual test, will be saved for all the future ones.

With the eventual outcome (4, Funny)

oahazmatt (868057) | more than 5 years ago | (#25206329)

Judge: This court finds in favor of the MPAA.
Real: But... we sued them!
Judge: Look, I understand you're a startup company...
Real: We've been around forever!
Judge: ---Really? Never heard of you. $10 million or 40,000 innocent souls to the MPAA, to be paid by Friday.

Re:With the eventual outcome (1)

russotto (537200) | more than 5 years ago | (#25207025)

Judge: ---Really? Never heard of you. $10 million or 40,000 innocent souls to the MPAA, to be paid by Friday.

Real: Oh, no problem, we can pay the souls out of petty cash. Um, are they still "innocent" if they were trying to watch porn when we "buffered" them?

Re:With the eventual outcome (2, Informative)

Starteck81 (917280) | more than 5 years ago | (#25208065)

Judge: ---Really? Never heard of you. $10 million or 40,000 innocent souls to the MPAA, to be paid by Friday.

10,000,000/40,000 = $250

I was wondering what the market value of an innocent soul was these days.

Irony, the other white meat. (1)

firesyde424 (1127527) | more than 5 years ago | (#25206333)

A content company..... that doesn't always see eye to eye with the MAFIAA? Alright! Which one of you divided by zero?

In all seriousness, I have yet to see a company that has purely altruistic motives. I'm quite convinced that it is most assuredly within the realm of impossibility. I'm not wondering if Real is simply moving proactively to guard against what they view as a threat to one of their revenue streams.

But maybe, just maybe, karma and ironic fate have come back to bite the MAFIAA in the ass. And who knows, if Real wins, other companies may bring this kind of litigation as well.

Re:Irony, the other white meat. (2, Insightful)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | more than 5 years ago | (#25206657)

It is a bit like politics. I know all the politicians have alterior motives. I know that they are just doing this because the publicity will help them. But, I would be foolish not to support them when the outcome of their publicity stunt would be in my favor.

Or this scenario:

Victim: *getting punched in the face by hoodlum A*
Hoodlum B: It is wrong to punch him in the face, I'm calling the cops.
Hoodlum A: You punched him last week and I didn't call the cops.
Victim: Yes, I agree, that would be hypocritical, therefore I would not want you to call the police.

I may not like someone, and I may not like their past actions, and their present actions may be hypocritical based on their past actions, but if what they are doing now is what is right, then it is really foolish to reject the message because you don't like the messenger.

Tough reading (2, Funny)

InterruptDescriptorT (531083) | more than 5 years ago | (#25206373)

I took at look at RealNetworks' filing, but it didn't elicit much useful information:

Plantiffs RealNetworks, Inc. (herein known as PlantiBUFFERING... 4%

The Deadly Courtroom (4, Interesting)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 5 years ago | (#25206497)

A courtroom is something most of us with even a modicum of common sense do our best to stay out of. There are no guarantees (well none except that the lawyers on both sides will get rich) of what can happen in there. To go all preemptive over this must mean that Real suspects that the MPAA themselves are not wanting to see this before a judge and Real feels they may have leverage. Heaven knows that the MPAA otherwise is hardly shy or retiring about filing suits of their own over imagined slights.

Re:The Deadly Courtroom (4, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | more than 5 years ago | (#25206649)

I think it's more that if you're 100% sure you're going to be sued anyway, you might as well be the one to take this to court yourself. It makes your filing the first impression in the case, I'm not sure if it gives you advantages to what court will hear it but maybe, and it conveys a sense of "Yes, we know what we're doing and it's not illegal" as opposed to most that get sued are squirming a little over being dragged to court. I don't think they ever expected the MPAA not to sue.

Re:The Deadly Courtroom (1)

JustinOpinion (1246824) | more than 5 years ago | (#25207415)

There's also the effect on investors. A potential lawsuit hanging over a company can scare away investors, reduce the stock price, etc. So RealNetworks may be strategically bringing this issue to court. By doing so, they give the impression that they are going to win, which will calm investors.

It may also be that for various reasons (e.g. cash flow, current stock trends...), management decided that right now would be the best time to deal with any potential court case. By preemptively going to court, they control the timing, rather than being at the mercy of the MPAA.

Re:The Deadly Courtroom (1)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 5 years ago | (#25207663)

and it conveys a sense of "Yes, we know what we're doing and it's not illegal" as opposed to most that get sued are squirming a little over being dragged to court.

So if I go to the store and buy something, should I just go straight to the police afterward and shout at the top of my lungs how I totally bught the thing and didn't steal it?

Re:The Deadly Courtroom (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 5 years ago | (#25206973)

Maybe Real wants in on the MPAA pie, and is betting that they will settle out of court rather than possibly having a precident setting fair use case ruled against them.

Re:The Deadly Courtroom (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25207549)

IANAL, so one can correct me if I'm wrong, but by bringing the suit themselves, I would suspect that it would negate any damages that could be claimed by the MPAA. If Real loses, the result is an injunction against distributing their software. But if Real waited for the MPAA to sue them and then lost the suit, then there's a good chance they'd have to page damages as well as stop selling their software.

Not Your Rights (2, Interesting)

DynaSoar (714234) | more than 5 years ago | (#25206609)

This is not about "your rights". This is about lawyers making sure they and their counterparts are assured the driver's seat on this particular gravy train. There are plenty of other DVD copying programs out there being soundly ignored by MPAA and Real is already more reputable (in terms MPAA would accept) than the others. The only way the MPAA would be ready to reply same day with their own announcement is if they were already planning on doing so, and that requires knowing Real's intentions prior to their announcement. Much as I enjoy MPAA getting tweaked, I'm not going to credit Real with altruism when this amounts to nothing more than self-serving PR and income enhancement via docket padding.

The law allows for some strange stuff (1)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 5 years ago | (#25206621)

I wouldn't have guesses that you could preemptively sue someone who could sue you. Makes me see Jack Thompson from a different light, maybe he was just having fun with the legal system.

Re:The law allows for some strange stuff (2, Informative)

gnasher719 (869701) | more than 5 years ago | (#25206927)

I wouldn't have guesses that you could preemptively sue someone who could sue you. Makes me see Jack Thompson from a different light, maybe he was just having fun with the legal system.

That's for example what happened between Linux and SCO in Germany with excellent effect.

SCO: We will sue all Linux users!
Linux: Sue or shut up.
Court: Sue or shut up. If you don't sue and repeat any claims, there will be a fine.
SCO: Mostly shuts up; from time to time SCO Germany messes up, links to files of SCO US, pays a fine.

Litigation Announcement of It's Own?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25206703)

Should we call this out for what it is?

CORPORATE GOSSIP WRESTLING.

Example: "Well this company sues other companies over these types of matters. Now this company that might get sued is now starting up a lawsuit of its own, calling out the suing company. A decorative and pointless battle will be fought and staged and ignored by many over a product that not many people may end up investing in."

Blech.

A biggish company fighting MPAA is a Good Thing (4, Insightful)

dpbsmith (263124) | more than 5 years ago | (#25206889)

Their motivation is commercial, but RealNetworks is nevertheless defending (some aspects of) fair use. What is very important is that RealNetworks is saying that content owners do not get to make the final determination of what is and is not fair use.

The content owners have been overreaching on copyright by a large amount and for a long time now. I happen to think the current copyright law gives them far too much. But even saying "you only get to take what the law gives you and no more" would be an improvement on the present situation.

Some nice action in the commercial marketplace to push the grabby MPAA back into the spacious terrain that's been staked out for them is a Good Thing.

Good riddance, y'all! (1)

swordgeek (112599) | more than 5 years ago | (#25206941)

Ah, RealNetworks and MPAA, battling for years in court, spending tens or hundreds of million dollars.

It does my heart good. It really does. I'd be hard pressed to come up with two groups who deserve each other more than them. In an ideal world, Real would win, leaving the MPAA dead on the floor. They'd stagger a few steps, and before getting a chance to celebrate their victory, drop dead themselves.

In reality, it'll hopefully at least hurt them both a bit.

Re:Good riddance, y'all! (1)

Foobar of Borg (690622) | more than 5 years ago | (#25207809)

Ah, RealNetworks and MPAA, battling for years in court, spending tens or hundreds of million dollars.

Well, the SCO lawsuits are pretty much dead now. We have to have *something* to fill the void! ^_^

"Ladies And Gentlemen Of This Supposed Jury...." (4, Insightful)

maz2331 (1104901) | more than 5 years ago | (#25207531)

Cue South Park's portrayal of Johnnie Cochran and the Chewbacca defense in 5, 4, 3....

Seriously though, all of these DRM schemes (Real, CSS itself, FairPlay, whatever) are attempts to tie the license to a copyrighted work to a specific device as opposed to a person . Therein lies the root of the entire problem.

It's not so much how the content is encrpted or what it works with or doesn't. That's the big red herring in all of these arguments. The important question is "what do customers actually buy?"

Are you buying a physical copy? That is the old model - go to the store, buy a disk, and it plays on all your devices. If it breaks or wears out, you buy another.

Are you buying a license to use the work instead? If so, the customer's rights are seperate from the physical copies. See, for example, site licenses for software, where you may have one CD and 100 licenses that can be moved from device to device as needed.

The whole idea behind these DRM schemes is an attempt to sell copies under the "old model" when the market is demanding the second, and is enabled by current technology such that it's now feasible for things to work that way. Indeed, it appears that the *AA are really trying to combine the worst aspects of both models to create a "third way" that really boils down to rent-seeking instead of sales. In other words, content is never purchased, but is merely rented.

The solution is a model where the works are licensed to an individual. The *AA could easily provide a "registration service" for specific works that could be referred to if a question as to licensing ever arose.

Copyright is not per se a bad thing at all, but the abuse of it to generate repeat sales of the same works to the same individual IS flat-out evil.

Must Disagree (1)

seeker_1us (1203072) | more than 5 years ago | (#25208123)

With Fairplay etc you must make a copy of the content. Thus there is an argument for "licensing" of it.

However, CSS is attached to something you buy. If you go to a store and buy a DVD, you do not license it, any more than you "license" a book by buying it from a bookstore.

I have to keep bringing this up because this whole "licensing" thing is what the media companies are trying to brainwash us into accepting. Thus DRM becomes part of licensing, rather than what it is: a method to extend control over content beyond what copyright law allows.

RealNetworks? More like ROFLNetworks... (1)

Twyst3d (1359973) | more than 5 years ago | (#25207555)

I havent used your buggy ass software since the mid 90s. Im pretty sure most of the people you WANT using your software are doing the same.

What I find astounding here is that a real failure like Real Networks has managed to somehow stay afloat and not go under ALL this time.

I'd say more but swordgeek said it best

does not infringe on copyright (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25207651)

an attempt to authoritatively establish that the product does not infringe on copyright restrictions

Of course it doesn't violate copyright law, it violates the DMCA which does not allow you to remove or circumvent the copy protection.

How often... (0, Redundant)

Ogre840 (1233316) | more than 5 years ago | (#25207699)

Will the court have to *buffering* recess to *buffering* allow the full argumen *buffering* ts to be heard?

Worlds longest *buffering* court case...

The Naked Emperor (2, Interesting)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 5 years ago | (#25207769)

This Emperor truly has no clothes. Here's why...

CSS encryption was broken so long ago by now that a lot of people don't even remember non-crackable movie DVDs. At best it's a low tripwire rather than an insurmountable barrier.

The content industry contends that Real's product, like Kaleidoscope's before them, removes even the tripwire for people who are too stupid to know how to Google. They further contend that there's this "delicate balance" of DRM that allows the studios to release their "incredibly valuable" content to the consumers in standard digital form and still sleep at night. Without keeping this nebulous veil that the works are protected against copying the studios would not release any movies to DVD any longer.

IT'S A LIE!

Studios make half their profits from any movie off of DVD sales. They can't afford to give them up. Blockbuster rentals didn't destroy them. Netflix hasn't destroyed them. deCSS hasn't destroyed them, and neither will Real. In short:

THE STUDIOS AREN'T GOING TO QUIT SELLING DVDs BECAUSE THEY CAN'T AFFORD TO!

So much for the big scary stories that your DVD player is about to become a paperweight. Ain't going to happen. Yeah they'll make a bit less than extracting every last penny, but they're not going to pull DVD sales because there is yet another hole in the armor of DRM.

In fact, DRM never was about "copy protection". Make a bit-by-bit copy of any movie DVD with all the DRM intact and the copy plays just like the original.

CSS DRM DOES NOT PREVENT EXACT COPIES FROM BEING MADE! IT ISN'T COPY PROTECTION!

Are we clear on that now? All DRM does is limit your ability on where and how you can play your lawfully purchased content. The content provider would like to sell you one copy to play on your television, then another full price copy to play on your computer, and then another full price copy to play on your game console, your game handheld, your portable DVD player... They'd love to sell you the same content over and over and over again (think vinyl, cassette, CD, iTunes).

The problem is that people now have more choices than ever (HDTV, PC, Gameboy, iPod) all at the same time and they want to Buy-Once-Play-Everywhere. Furthermore they don't see why they shouldn't be allowed to do this. And every moderate to wealthy household has a powerful engine in their own personal computer(s) capable of making all this happen. The movie industry's dream of pay-per-each-viewing, pay-per-device is a lovely dream not likely to ever be realized. Try that and there will be a revolution that will truly put them in their place.

So don't buy into the farce that only DRM makes it possible for us to have DVD movies. PROFITS are what make it possible for us to have DVD movies and those profits are still there. Enough people buy legal DVDs to keep the system running, and are likely to continue to do so.

So quit lying to us about the necessity of DRM, or how Real can't be allowed to do what is already being done. Try to make our lives simplier, not more complex, and quit trying to pick our pockets every moment. Times are hard enough right now as it is, and I don't see movie star and studio executive salaries declining as fast as my own yet.

The Greater of Two Weevils (1)

stevenm86 (780116) | more than 5 years ago | (#25208393)

Hey look, two evil corporations suing each other. As long as one of them loses, we all win! And if not, this will at least put a dent in the litigation budget.
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