Hollywood Takes On Technology

April 30, 2009 at 8:13 pm

realdvdAs if Hollywood were not already steeped in enough controversy, we are now seeing the world of the stars collide with another equally interesting sector: the world of technology. Last week, the trial between Hollywood studios and RealNetworks began.

The issue revolves around the product called RealDVD, which allows people to convert their DVDs into files that can be played on personal computers and other similar devices. Hollywood studios point out that this is basically hacking while RealNetworks maintains the stance that it is not a hacker’s tool.

For one, they say that the software maintains the DVD’s copyright protection. On top of this, RealDVD also adds another layer or protection by employing digital rights management that locks the converted file to the PC. The Guardian has this story:

RealNetwork’s defence is that RealDVD strengthens DVD copy protection. Some observers, such as Fred von Lohmann, a senior lawyer with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, think Hollywood is fighting a losing battle: “I’m not sure what alternate version of reality the MPAA is living in, but consumers have been able to copy DVDs for a long time, thanks to free, widely available DVD rippers,” he says.

Hollywood argues that it has introduced features to its discs such as Digital Copy, which allows users to copy DVDs on to a hard drive, although in much lower resolution and with DRM constraints.

So what’s it gonna be? Who knows? One thing we know is that the judge is the same one who presided over the Napster case, and that she ruled in favor of the music industry.