Hollywood studios get $4.5 million in compensation from RealNetworks

MUMBAI: Hollywood movie studios and the DVD Copy Control Association (DVD CCA) have successfully concluded their litigation against RealNetworks concerning that company’s DVD-copying product, RealDVD.

The resolution includes the entry of a permanent injunction by U.S. District Court Judge Marilyn Hall Patel that bars RealNetworks from manufacturing or trafficking in RealDVD or any similar product. RealNetworks will also abandon its claims against the studios and pay $4.5 million to reimburse the studios for legal fees and costs incurred in the litigation.

On 11 August, 2009, Judge Patel granted the motion picture studios’ motion for a preliminary injunction against RealNetworks’ RealDVD product. The Judge declared that RealDVD, a device designed to copy DVDs containing copyrighted works, would likely be found to violate the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and the Content Scramble System (CSS) license.

"We are gratified by the successful conclusion of this important matter. 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. We will continue to vigorously pursue companies that attempt to bring these illegal circumvention products and devices to market," said MPAA general counsel & chief content Protection Officer Daniel Mandil.

The DMCA prohibits making or trafficking in any technology, product, service or device that is designed to circumvent measures that effectively protect copyrighted content. Similarly, the CSS license administered by the DVD CCA – a cross-industry group consisting of consumer electronics companies, information technology companies and motion picture studios – bars companies from making a DVD copier.

"The major motion picture studios continue to invest heavily in technologies that allow people to access entertainment in a variety of legal ways. This includes online video-on-demand, download-to-own, as well as legitimate digital copies for storage and use on computers and portable devices that are increasingly being made available on or with DVDs. Our member companies are committed to further advancing the consumer experience while sustaining the creative community that makes the movies and TV shows we all love," added Mandil.

Real will turn off the metadata service that provides DVD cover art and movie information, for the approximately 2,700 existing RealDVD customers, and the company is in the process of refunding the purchase price of the product to these customers.

"We are pleased to put this litigation behind us. This is another step toward fulfilling our commitment to simplify our company and focus on our core businesses. Until this dispute, Real had always enjoyed a productive working relationship with Hollywood. With this litigation resolved, I hope that in the future we can find mutually beneficial ways to use Real technology to bring Hollywood’s great work to consumers," said Real president and acting CEO Bob Kimball.

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