Real appeals injunction against RealDVD; says judge erred
Real has filed an appeal in its legal battle with the Motion Picture Association of America, arguing that a judge erred when she agreed to a preliminary injunction to halt sales of a DVD-copying program called RealDVD.In legal documents filed in the U.
Real has filed an appeal in its legal battle with the Motion Picture Association of America, arguing that a judge erred when she agreed to a preliminary injunction to halt sales of a DVD-copying program called RealDVD.
In legal documents filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (PDF), Real argued that Judge Marilyn Patel presumed that the RealDVD software would cause the film industry irreparable harm, as the MPAA had argued when it asked for the preliminary injunction, without considering the public interest. The company argues that she applied an incorrect legal standard in making her ruling.
Back in late August, the judge granted the preliminary injunction, pending a full trail that likely wouldn't even begin for another year or two. This was different from the temporary restraining order granted a year ago, shortly after Real released the product. While I didn't agree with it then, I understood why Patel ruled the way she did - the courts needed time to consider the implications. But with the preliminary injunction was granted, it just seemed outright ridiculous.
I've long argued that the Hollywood Studios are trying to stifle innovation with this lawsuit. The RealDVD product, which the studios say is a tool for piracy, is no different from Apple's iTunes, in the sense that iTunes users can copy the contents of a music CD to their personal computer hard drives - aka "ripping" - for playback on iPods or through iTunes. Meanwhile, the fragile music CD is preserved in a case and owners won't have to run out and buy another one in case it gets damaged.
Sounds like fair use to me.
Just what makes the studios think that RealDVD would, in fact, lead to more piracy - and why would the courts just take their word for it? Some might argue that iTunes made piracy easier but iTunes actually leads the industry in legal digital music sales. Sounds to me like Hollywood - and now a judge - wants to believe that people are inherently dishonest. Why else would you assume that people will automatically become pirates if they get access to this software - especially seeing that Real's software restricts playbacks and the number of copies? Sure, I could be pirating music CDs right now, but it's just not worth the hassle. Instead, I've archived my personal CDs and have them put away in a safe place - right alongside my old albums.
If only I could do that with my DVD collection, too.