Reuters and other sources are reporting that U.S. District Court Judge Marilyn Patel ruled yesterday that software used to duplicate DVDs onto computer hard drives constitutes a copyright infringement of the work of TV artists and moviemakers. Hollywood studios, represented by the Motion Picture Association of America, have gone all out to shoot down the $30 program, marketed by RealNetworks, claiming it presents a piracy threat to the film industry.

Patel, who sits in San Francisco, issued a preliminary injunction aimed at stopping sales and use of the technology, known as RealDVD, which was introduced last fall but pulled shortly after the MPAA filed suit.

Dan Glickman, the MPAA's CEO and chairman, hailed the decision

in a statement, declaring that “This is a victory for

the creators and producers of motion pictures and television shows and

for the rule of law in our digital economy . . . RealNetworks took a

license to

build a DVD-player and instead made an illegal DVD-copier.”

RealNetworks, which has told customers that an MPAA victory  “would be

a blow to your consumer rights,” issued a muted “We are disappointed” response.


Hollywood is breathing a little easier today because of Patel's

decision, Seattle-based RealNetworks, which also markets the popular

RealPlayer and is counter-suing the MPAA on anti-trust grounds, will likely appeal the ruling and seek to get a stay of the injunction.

LA Weekly