MPAA: RealNetworks hamstrings lawsuit by destroying evidence

5 03 2009

The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) has accused RealNetworks of destroying evidence relevant to a lawsuit over the company’s DVD-copying software. The movie studios represented by the MPAA have asked for a court order requiring RealNetworks to preserve relevant documents from now on, but said that the damage has already been done and that Real’s actions have “irreparably impaired the integrity of the judicial process.”

The accusation is just the latest in the back-and-forth between the MPAA and Real over RealDVD, a product that Real tried to launch in September of 2008. The software is designed to rip DVDs to a hard drive and play them back, CSS encryption and all, without modifying or changing any DRM-laden files. Real thought that this would help it stay safe from DMCA allegations, but it turns out that was just a pipe dream. The same month, the MPAA filed a lawsuit against Real for violating DMCA anticircumvention rules because DVD licensees must have the physical disc in the drive when decrypting a movie, and the RealDVD software doesn’t do that. “RealNetworks’ RealDVD should be called StealDVD,” MPAA Executive Vice President and General Counsel said at the time.

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