DEMOFall08: DVD Copying Goes Mainstream, With Restrictions

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RealNetworks has unveiled plans for a mainstream, legal program to duplicate DVDs. RealDVD, to be sold for $30 on both and by the end of the month, will let you digitally copy any disc along with its artwork — something the moviemaking industry has long resisted.

Of course, while legal battles have shut down companies such as DVD X Copy — closed in 2004 after a lengthy MPAA lawsuit — most technologically inclined folks have still found ways to rip and burn DVDs at will. Still, Real’s software will make the process available to anyone, regardless of their computer knowledge. Now, it also comes with a catch, and it’s a pretty limiting one: The program will only let you make a single digital copy of any DVD, and the movie will play only on that same computer. It also will not work with Blu-ray discs.

Real execs told The New York Times a lawsuit in 2007 paved the way for the product. The DVD Copy Control Association — the group behind DVD encryption technology — tried to sue a startup that sold a server designed to copy and digitally store hundreds of films. It lost.

That decision, however, is now being appealed. If the DVD Copy Control Association ends up winning, RealDVD could face trouble as well.

Not to imply anything illegal here, but I’ll just saying that a certain other option with “Shrink” in its name lets you do a lot more, and without the hassle. Only for legitimate personal backups of non-copyrighted discs, of course.

Real Networks