updated 12:15 pm EST, Mon January 11, 2010
Real allegedly brought on trouble itself
Judge Marilyn Patel in a quiet move on Friday dismissed Real's lawsuit against movie studios over their alleged collusion to block RealDVD. The Northern District Court official rejected the idea citing precedents that let companies band together to ensure a legal income and said the DVD Copy Control Association, as well as the Motion Picture Association of America, were allowed to work together to stop what they believed was illegal copying. Real also wasn't found to have suffered any significant losses from the move.
The judge went so far as to criticize Real itself and attacked the software developer for making an app that could likely be found illegal along with delays in producing the software itself. RealDVD was to work by letting users copy DVDs to their hard drives but re-imposing copy protection to prevent illegal sharing. Both the DVD CCA and MPAA have argued that the software still technically violates the DMCA by bypassing DVD copy protection.
In the ruling, Real isn't allowed to modify its claims for the case and so effectively runs out of options to continue offering RealDVD. The company is currently facing an injunction against sales that bans sales until the end of MPAA's original lawsuit against Real.
The dismissal sets a non-binding legal foundation for movie copying in the US. Critics have argued that fair use principles for copying should apply to movies as well as music, but industry officials have maintained that any copy protected video should be illegal to copy even if necessary for a backup. Most studios so far only allow copying in limited circumstances, such as with iTunes' multi-user licenses, and often prefer streaming as it prevents most copying altogether. [via Ars Technica]