RealDVD—the $30 “legal” DVD-copying software that almost never was—is no more. Real Networks has announced a settlement with major Hollywood studios in which it agrees to stop selling RealDVD and pay about $4.5 million to cover the studios’ litigation costs. It will also refund purchase prices to the 2,700 or so customers who managed to purchase RealDVD for the week or so it was actually on sale back in 2008.
“We are pleased to put this litigation behind us,” said RealNetworks president and acting CEO Bob Kimball, in a statement. “This is another step toward fulfilling our commitment to simplify our company and focus on our core businesses.”
RealNetworks had touted RealDVD has a legal way for consumers to make copies of their DVDs for personal use, using a loophole in the Content Scramble System (CSS) licensing that had been punched by Kaleidescape for its high-end home theater systems. However, movie studios reacted swiftly and negatively to RealDVD, saying it should really be named “StealDVD” and arguing that the software was nothing but a piracy tool that would inspire consumers to rent DVDs, copy them, then return the original. RealNetworks countersued the studios, claiming they were acting in violation of anticompetition laws. RealNetworks’ counterclaim was dismissed.