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Court bans sales of RealDVD indefinitely

Nilay Patel

It look like Hollywood's won the first round in court against RealNetworks' RealDVD DVD-ripping software -- Judge Maralyn Hall Patel (of Napster fame, remember her?) ruled yesterday that a temporary restraining order blocking sales of the software will stay in place indefinitely until she decides whether it violates the DMCA. The central issue is whether or not making a bit-for-bit copy of a DVD constitutes circumventing copy protection: the studios claim the encryption keys must be read off the disk under the terms of the license agreement, and RealNetworks obviously disagrees. There's a lot at play here, including the studios' argument that fair use doesn't serve as a defense to backing up DVDs, so we'll be tracking this one closely -- it's sadly clear to us that Hollywood's fight here is against consumers having flexibility with their media, since it lost the battle against actual piracy ages ago.

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