RealDVD: A walk through the complaint

RealDVD: A walk through the complaint

Summary: Here's my read of the MPAA complaint in Universal v Real (PDF).The MPAA's complaint against Real over its RealDVD rip-and-view product has only two causes of action.

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Here's my read of the MPAA complaint in Universal v Real (PDF).

The MPAA's complaint against Real over its RealDVD rip-and-view product has only two causes of action. One is a Digital Millenium Copyright Act claim; the other is a state law breach of contract claim.

In the DMCA claim, the studios simply make the assertion that Real's product violates the terms of the law. The complaint sites the law and then asserts that RealDVD violates the law:

The juice of the complaint is the breach of contract claim. One might be forgiven for suspecting the DMCA claim is just stuck in there to give the federal court jurisdiction. (They can both be heard in federal court due to supplemental jurisdiction.)

MPAA's real claim is that Real was given a CSS (Content Scramble System) license in August 2007 "to build a product to play DVDs" but the company turned around and built a product that copies DVDs. And it's this license that Real wants the court to find does cover RealDVD.

RealDVD bypasses the CSS protection measures by making a complete, bit-for-bit copy of the entire contents of a CSS-protected DVD onto either a local computer hard drive or a connected external USB hard drive.

Real, on the other hand, says that not only does it not violate CSS, it actually adds superior encryption for the studios. No charge!

RealDVD not only maintains the DVD's native CSS encryption intact, it also adds another layer of digital rights management encryption that effectively locks the DVD copy to the owner's computer to ensure that the content can not be improperly copied or shared. RealDVD provides consumers with a great solution for the playback and management of their DVD collections while adding security that is more robust than CSS.
Specifically, MPAA says that Real agreed to abide by the CSS Specifications, which require licensed products to ensure that a user can't watch a DVD on computer without a physical DVD being in the drive. Such violations, MPAA says, cause irreparable damages justifying a permanent injunction not only because it interferes with DVD sales but also because it undercuts the studios' ability to sell content through iTunes, Amazon and DigitalDownload DVDs. Plus, the studios say, Real's status as lawful software vendor matters. "Real conveys the false impression that conduct that consumers have long understood to be wrong is now legal." There is money, too: Up to $2 million in attorneys fees and costs, and $100,000 in mitigation measures.

Topics: Hardware, Mobility, Software Development

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13 comments
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  • RealMEH

    I'd love a way to legally copy my DVDs to my computer's HD so I can watch them without a disc in the drive. However, I'd never buy anything from Real to do it.
    Valethar
    • who knows perhaps real will offer you thatw/o you bying there product

      If eral is found not to breach DMCA, that would mean DVD are not covered by the law and that css does not "effectively controls access" to the copyrighted work, but merely encrypt it.

      If a court says that, any dvd copy software would immediatly become legal.
      s_souche
    • a LEGAL easy solution exist

      it's call AnyDVD and remove all DRM infection from DVD, so they can be copied easly (and compress to much smaller size) onto you HD using FREE software.

      This is another baseless acusation by the most dangerous criminals in the world today: The MPAA. if the court want to solve the problem, it is easy: Shutdown the MPAA and prevent the big the studio to regroup into another illegal crime organisation. it is that simple.

      DRM is illegal period, no if or but. IT IS ILLEGAL. it prevent legal use from enjoying the product they one legally.
      Mectron
      • Exactly correct

        When you buy a DVD movie, you should actually own it, rather than rent the opportunity to view it in a way (and on devices) approved by the studios. Of course it's a bit naughty to rip and torrent it, but if DVDs were cheap enough then people simply wouldn't bother with torrents.

        Treating file sharers like criminals is in itself a criminal act. A crime is hitting someone over the head. Passing a burnt DVD to your neighbor over the garden fence is a private act on private property between consenting adults, just as intimacy between you and your partner is. It is nobody else's business - period.

        If DVDs were as cheap as they should be, piracy would be almost non-existent. The function of DRM and DMCA is to perpetuate greed and extreme profits by the studios.

        If you were wondering whether the USA has become a fascist nation, just take a look at the way file sharers are treated - your answer is there. Once upon a time there was a thing called the Constitution - now in tatters. America is a once-great nation... no longer great. Terribly sad - thanks movie studios and your bestial greed.
        Don Collins
        • If they were that cheap

          Where would the *reasonable* profit be?
          rkoman@...
          • Downloaders would be more likely to buy

            It isn't just a case of them being cheap in monetary terms, we have to consider cheap in psychological terms as well. At a certain pricepoint, people look at an items value proposition and decide taht it just isn't worth it. It's why I hardly ever buy cds anymore. The same goes for DVD's.

            I live in South Africa where the average price of a new DVD release ranges from around $16 to $22. For most South Africans, that is a lot of money. But at half that price and I would be hard pressed to find justification on spending that money on just any DVD.

            At half the price however, I would be a lot more willing to part with my money.

            As to the question of where the "reasonable" profits would be, they would lie in increased sales. Let's face it, DVDs are not expensive to produce. Most big studio films released on DVD have already earned the studios a profit, not to mention the money they will make from TV reruns.

            I think most downloaders would agree that the main reason they do it, is beacuse they cannot afford to buy it.
            ebudae@...
          • Apologies for the double post

            Apologies for the double post, but my first message got garbled somehow.

            It isn't just a case of them being cheap in monetary terms, we have to consider cheap in psychological terms as well. At a certain pricepoint, people look at an items value proposition and decide taht it just isn't worth it. It's why I hardly ever buy cds anymore. The same goes for DVD's.

            I live in South Africa where the average price of a new DVD release ranges from around $16 to $22. For most South Africans, that is a lot of money. I would be hard pressed to find justification for spending that kind of money on just any DVD.

            At half the price however, I would be a lot more willing to part with my money.

            As to the question of where the "reasonable" profits would be, they would lie in increased sales. Let's face it, DVDs are not expensive to produce. Most big studio films released on DVD have already earned the studios a profit, not to mention the money they will make from TV reruns.

            I think most downloaders would agree that the main reason they do it, is beacuse they cannot afford to buy it.
            ebudae@...
  • Software doesn't copy DVDs...

    ... people do. Real might want to talk to the NRA and get some pointers on how best to defend itself.
    ejhonda
  • typo

    The complaint sites the law and then asserts that RealDVD violates the law:

    Should "sites" be "cites"?
    amarsh04
  • RE: RealDVD: A walk through the complaint

    In other words, MPAA is using the DMCA to force the issue to be a contract issue, to try to ensure they can double, triple, quadriple charge customers for the same content.
    hawkeyeaz1
  • RE: RealDVD: A walk through the complaint

    Allow mw to give my opinion on what is going to happen - and I speak from experience and lots of research. You may check the FEC data bases yourself.
    The Music Industry will (again) pay money to Barbara Boxer, to James Sensenbrenner, and other elected officials in a pattern that will match the pattern of adverse litigation events. If the judge is a Republican the payments will go to a Republican, if he/she is a Democrat nominated judge, the payments will go to a Democrat. Either way, the resulting judgment will be absurd.
    marc_90292@...
  • RE: RealDVD: A walk through the complaint

    Perhaps my Alabama education is letting me down, but
    shouldn't the complaint "cite" issues instead of "site" them?
    Bob G Lee
  • RE: RealDVD: A walk through the complaint

    I buy approximately 1 DVD per year, usually so that my toddler can watch her current favorite movie over and over again. But I get movies from Netflix several times a month (about 3 per week). In a typical month, that would be 12 movies. Since Netflix is about $14 (US) per month, that means I pay a little over $1 per movie. That is a much better deal in my opinion than buying the movie.

    RealDVD would allow me to make a local copy of DVD, and keep it. But I don't have storage for 12 movies a month. So I would have no use for the software. Besides, I can make a local copy anyway - my Linux has "super cow powers." (I just threw that in for fun.)
    barence773