RealNetworks released RealDVD, a DVD archiving program is says complies with the CSS (Content Scramble System) Agreement, the digital rights scheme used on most DVDs.
A group of studios sued in a federal court in California, and Real is fighting back, saying its product is in compliance with the licensing agreement and that studios' warnings of a piracy tsunami are overstated. But on Monday, Oct. 6, the product was off Rea's shelves.
Real says its new program actually provides more content protection—and less freedom for users—than other programs. And it says the RSS agreement to which it is a signatory allows copying by licensed users.
In support of its case, Real quotes a review in PC Magazine that says the product fails to do all that customers already get from other DVD rippers.
"Unfortunately, the resulting [RealDVD] movie files are locked up tighter than Hannibal Lecter; you can play them on up to five licensed PCs, but you can't watch them on your iPod or other device," PC Magazine wrote, as quoted by Real in a court motion. "As such, RealDVD doesn't really give users what they want: a way to put their purchased movies on their PCs and move them to iPods, iPhones, PSPs and network attached devices. ... Essentially, we want the same freedom with DVDs that we have with CDs, and there are lots of DVD-ripping and file-converting tools online that give users that freedom."
The comments came in Real's motion to dismiss a motion by the major studios Sept. 30 seeking a temporary restraining order to keep the product from being distributed. Real filed its own suit the same day.
As of Monday, Oct. 6, Real had suspended sales of RealDVD. "Due to recent legal action taken by the Hollywood movie studios against us, RealDVD is temporarily unavailable," a message said on the Real Web site. "Rest assured, we will continue to work diligently to provide you with software that allows you to make a legal copy of your DVDs for your own use."