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Real Networks, Inc. v. DVD Copy Control Association, Inc., et al.

On September 30, RealNetworks filed a declaratory action against the DVD Copy Control Association and the major motion picture studios in the Northern District of California. RealNetworks is seeking a declaration that its new DVD copying software (RealDVD) does not violate the anti-circumvention provisions of the DMCA and that the DVD Copy Control Association’s standard license to use its CSS encryption technology permits RealNetworks to manufacture RealDVD and offer it for sale.

The DVD Copy Control Association and the major motion picture studios filed suit later the same day in the Central District of California, claiming that RealNetworks’s DVD copying software violates the DMCA and that RealNetworks has breached the CSS encryption license. 

Judge Marilyn Patel in the Northern District granted the movie studios’ request for a temporary restraining order barring RealNetworks from distributing RealDVD, and on October 7, she extended the TRO. Judge Marilyn Patel stated: “I am going to extend the TRO, and here are the reasons: because I’m not satisfied that, in fact, this technology is not . . . in violation of the DMCA; that, in fact, it does comply with what is a very lengthy contract and some specifications that apparently there is some dispute about . . . .  The problem is that there are serious questions here about copyright violations, about DMCA violations, violations of this contract, by a company who rushed to market and didn’t wait for any kind of an adjudication . . . .  I’m not persuaded that the TRO should not stay in place.” The later-filed suit was transferred to the Northern District and both suits were consolidated on October 21.