RealNetworks will stop selling DVD copying product

In a move that will prevent educators and others from making backup copies of DVDs they show in class, RealNetworks Inc. said March 3 that it will stop selling technology that lets consumers copy DVDs to their computer hard drives, reports the Associated Press—settling a handful of lawsuits filed against the company by Hollywood’s six major movie studios. Under the settlement terms, RealNetworks is barred from selling its RealDVD product or other similar technology. The Seattle-based digital entertainment company also will pay $4.5 million to the studios for litigation costs and refund purchases of about 2,700 customers who bought the product. The movie studios sued RealNetworks in 2008, arguing that RealDVD is an illegal pirating tool that would stop consumers from buying movies on DVD that they instead could rent, copy, and return. RealNetworks lawyers argued the software had piracy protections that limited a DVD owner to making a single copy, and they said RealDVD gave consumers a legitimate way to back up copies of movies legally purchased. U.S. District Court Judge Marilyn Hall Patel ruled in favor of the studios in August by granting a preliminary injunction against RealDVD, pending a full trial. And in January, she dismissed a RealNetworks counterclaim alleging antitrust violations. RealNetworks was appealing the injunction against selling RealDVD; as part of the settlement, it will withdraw the appeal…

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