NPR logo RealNetworks' Strategy:<br /> Get Them Before They Get You


RealNetworks' Strategy:
Get Them Before They Get You

'RealNetworks logo

Or at least sue them first: That's what RealNetworks is doing.

RealNetworks beat the movie studios to court; yesterday, the digital-media company brought a lawsuit against Hollywood studios, asking a court to declare preemptively that its RealDVD software does not violate any copyright laws.

The software allows movie fans to make a copy of a movie from a DVD and store it on their computer hard drive. That would be nice for travelers — no stack of DVDs to carry on the plane — and for parents, who could plop their kids in front of screen in the back seat without searching through a stack of discs first.

RealNetworks claims that its software doesn't break through any encryption on the DVDs for its software to work. (Cracking encryption would be a violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.)

Still, it wasn't much of a surprise when, a few hours after RealNetworks' move, the Motion Picture Association of America brought a suit of its own.

The MPAA wants a temporary restraining order to keep RealDVD off the market while the parties tussle over it in court. They worry about people making copies of rented DVDs that they don't own.

I say we wouldn't do that. You?