RealNetworks’ Antitrust Claims Over RealDVD Dismissed


Back in 2008, Real Networks promised to usher in a new era in digital entertainment with RealDVD, which claimed to offer 100 percent legal copying of DVDs for personal use so owners could enjoy them on their PCs, portable media devices, and other digital technology. Of course, it took Hollywood—in the form of the MPAA—only a short time to slam a lawsuit on RealNetworks claiming RealDVD amounted to little more than “StealDVD,” and a court quickly granted and upheld an injunction preventing the software from being sold. RealNetworks has been continuing to pursue the case in court, and had filed counterclaims that, by preventing RealDVD from getting to market, the MPAA had engaged in anticompetitive practices. Last week, Judge Marilyn Patel dismissed that claim, saying Real Networks had no one to blame but itself for the studios coming after the product, and that Hollywood studios had every right to join forces to fight it.

In a nutshell, RealDVD purported to work by not only copying a DVD’s digital content, but also by preserving the CSS encryption used to protect a DVD from clandestine copying—and adding another level of protection on top of that to be even more secure. Real Networks had hoped to skate through the complex DVD Copy Control Association licensing on a loophole opened by Kaliedescape, which enabled their high-end home theater products to make a copy of a DVD (with CSS encryption) for storage on a local hard drive. When the studios sued to block sales of RealDVD, Real Networks countersued, arguing the studios working together to suppress RealDVD amounted to an illegal cartel and a violation of antitrust law.

Instead, Judge Patel ruled that the studios had the right to work together towards a common legal outcome under the Noerr-Pennington doctrine, established by the Supreme Court in the late 1960s and early 1970s—the doctrine holds that companies working to advocate enforcement of passage of legislation are immune from antitrust violations, even if those laws would have anticompetitive effects. Patel also ruled that the only damages Real Networks has suffered from the RealDVD effort have been as the result of its own actions: first trying to publish illegal software, then protracting the dispute through legal action.

At this point,Real Networks might choose to engage in further appeals, but the company is still barred from selling RealDVD and apparently cannot argue that the software is legal, or that Hollywood studios engaged in illegal conduct to keep it from market. It appears Real Networks’ efforts to bring RealDVD to market are at an end.

Emerging Tech

How emotion-tracking A.I. will change computing as we know it

Affectiva is just one of the startups working to create emotion-tracking A.I. that can work out how you're feeling. Here's why this could change the face of computing as we know it.
Movies & TV

Skip the flowers and sunshine this spring and watch the best shows on Hulu

It's often overwhelming to navigate Hulu's robust library of TV shows. To help, we put together a list of the best shows on Hulu, whether you're into frenetic cartoons, intelligent dramas, or anything in between.

These are the must-have games that every Xbox One owner needs

More than four years into its life span, Microsoft's latest console is finally coming into its own. From Cuphead to Halo 5, the best Xbox One games offer something for players of every type.

Among hundreds of choices, these are the 25 best SNES games of all time

The Super Nintendo Entertainment System just might be the greatest game console ever made, but which are the best titles for the system? Here are our picks for the best SNES games.
Product Review

You won't buy Microsoft's Surface Hub 2S, but it could still change your life

The Microsoft Surface Hub 2S wants to change the way you collaborate at work. That’s a lofty goal most devices fail to achieve, but the unique Hub 2S could be an exception. And trust us – you’re going to want it.

Exclusive: The Surface Hub 2S will revolutionize work. Here’s how it was made

Exclusive interviews with the designers, futurists, and visionaries behind the Surface Hub 2 paint a dramatic picture of how Microsoft thinks collaboration will change your office.

Sweet 16: Wacom’s Cintiq 16 pen display makes retouching photos a breeze

Wacom’s Cintiq pen displays are usually reserved for the pros (or wealthy enthusiasts), but the new Cintiq 16 brings screen and stylus editing to an approachable price. Does it cut too much to get there?

Meet the mastermind behind Microsoft's massive new Surface Hub

Microsoft Chief Product Officer Panos Panay gives us an exclusive peek at the 85-inch Surface Hub 2, and explains how innovation and collaboration will transform your workplace.

Microsoft reveals details of Surface Hub 2S, coming in June at $9,000

The Surface Hub 2 could be the most expensive whiteboard ever made, but it should be a powerful and capable one. With the ability to connect several of the 50-inch displays together, the picture at least, should be gorgeous.

Report says 20% of all 2018 web traffic came from bad bots

Distil Networks published its annual Bad Bot Report this week and announced that 20% of all web traffic in 2018 came from bad bots. The report had other similarly surprising findings regarding the state of bots as well.

Learn to uninstall a Steam game and clear some space on your PC

Looking to learn how to uninstall Steam games? You've come to the right place. In this guide, we walk you through the process step by step, whether you want Steam to do it for you or handle the process manually.

Amazon strikes $100 off the price of Microsoft Surface Go tablets

If you've been eyeing Microsoft's Surface Go for its compact size and portability, now may be a great time to buy the tablet. Amazon has a $100 discount on the Surface Go, bringing the price of this slate down to just under $400.

Mueller report releases on CD, forces Congress to find PCs with disc drives

The Mueller report was released this week to Congress via CDs and congressional members had to find PCs with working disc drives to access the 400-page document. The redacted report was also released to the public on a website.

Kick off your streaming career with our complete guide to Twitch broadcasting

Streaming games on Twitch for the first time can be daunting to say the least, but with a few simple steps, it's remarkably easy to do. Here's how to do so using a PC, Mac, Xbox One, or PlayStation 4 console.