Friday, April 24, 2009

RealNetworks v Hollywood

More copyright fun in a Californian courtroom today as RealNetworks take on the movie industry on the DVD-ripping software battleground.
"Hollywood calls it "rent, rip and return" and contends it's one of the biggest technological threats to the movie industry's annual $20 billion DVD market - software that allows you to copy a film without paying for it.

On Friday, the showdown over the issue will take place in federal court in San Francisco, where an army of lawyers representing Hollywood will argue that RealNetworks Inc.'s DVD "ripper" is an illegal digital piracy tool.

The company, in turn, will say the $29.99 software that allows DVDs to be easily copied to computer hard drives is legitimate.

The same federal judge who shut down music-swapping site Napster in 2000 because of copyright violations will preside over the three-day trial, which is expected to cut to the heart of the same technological upheaval roiling Hollywood that forever changed the face of the music business."

This one on the surface looks a bit closer to the Universal v Sony VCR 'substantial non-infringing uses' case from way back in the 1980s than Napster or Grokster did. The Napster judge, Marilyn Hall Patel, is presiding over this one too and it will be worth watching.

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