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Judge halts RealDVD sales until at least Tuesday

October 6, 2008 |  4:39 pm
Rob Glaser

RealNetworks this weekend suspended selling its RealDVD software in response to the request of a judge who needed time to review the legal issues involving the software, the company confirmed today.

In U.S. District Court in San Francisco on Tuesday, Judge Marilyn Hall Patel will take up two lawsuits involving the software, which allows users to copy DVDs to their computer hard drives. RealDVD went on sale last week, claiming to be the first legal and easy way to copy movies. On the same day, RealNetworks, whose chief executive, Rob Glaser, is pictured above, and Hollywood studios sued each other.

The movie industry says the software violates copyrights, allowing people to “rent, rip and return” movies from a rental store. RealNetworks says the software is meant to be used with DVDs one owns. It sued preemptively so that a court would decide the matter.

Today, on RealDVD's website, a note reads: "Due to recent legal action taken by the Hollywood movie studios against us, RealDVD is temporarily unavailable. 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."

"Irreparable Harm ... Not," argues Fred von Lohmann of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, who in a blog post takes apart the claims that RealDVD injures the copyright holders. But at AllThingsD, John Paczkowski says that RealDVD "users are on the honor system," which isn't exactly Hollywood's idea of copyright protection.

-- Michelle Quinn

Photo: RealNetworks CEO Rob Glaser in 2001.  Credit: Rick Maiman / Bloomberg News

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