A federal trial now under way could decide whether educators, students, and other consumers will have legal access to technology that allows them to make backup copies of their DVDs on a computer hard drive.

On April 24, movie industry lawyers urged a federal judge to bar RealNetworks Inc. from selling software that allows consumers to copy their DVDs to computer hard drives, arguing that the Seattle-based company's product is an illegal pirating tool.

Hollywood alleges that RealNetworks' RealDVD product allows users to copy a film from a DVD without paying for it--a practice the movie studios call "rent, rip, and return"--and contends...

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