Studios win battle over copying DVDs

RealNetworks to stop selling software; will pay MPAA legal fees

Hollywood has ended its legal battle against RealNetworks after the company was ordered by a U.S. District Court judge to stop selling its RealDVD software because it violates copyright law.

The court’s permanent injunction against the sale of the DVD-copying software wraps up a case that began in 2008.

At the time, the Motion Picture Assn. of America filed a lawsuit to stop the sale of RealDVD, which enables users to copy and store films to a hard drive. RealNetworks had argued that consumers had the right to backup their DVDs, just as they have a right to make copies of their songs for personal use, and was offering a way for them to do that.

RealNetworks, which makes the RealPlayer and RealAudio software and co-owns the Rhapsody music service, also will pay the studios $4.5 million to reimburse legal fees as part of a settlement with the MPAA, which was repping the major studios in the case.

“We are gratified by the successful conclusion of this important matter,” said MPAA general counsel Daniel Mandil. “Judge Patel’s rulings and this settlement affirm what we have said from the very start of this litigation: It is illegal to bypass the copyright protections built into DVDs designed to protect movies against theft.”

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