Back in September/October of last year, RealNetworks released a product called RealDVD. It sold about 3,000 units before Real was promptly sued by the MPAA. The MPAA wasn’t very happy with the idea of people being able to copy DVDs onto their computers and play them back without the actual disc.
Real and the MPAA had a court date on Monday, where RealNetworks either proved to be oblivious or genius. While in federal court, RealNetworks admitted to destroying documents that led to the making of RealDVD, which seems like a strange move from any point of view. Leo Cunningham, a lawyer of RealNetworks told the federal judge it was because the company didn’t think a lawsuit was “probable.” Some of the files destroyed included actual code files from a project manager’s notebook, and files that could possibly have shown that RealDVD was partially the work of hackers.
It’s a bit hard to understand how Real could think there would be no retaliation against RealDVD. The MPAA would do anything to fight against the possibility of circumventing the DVD to play movies. RealDVD only required the DVD once, which could have led to people copying them discs from friends, BlockBuster, Netflix, etc. Both sides of the argument claim the DMCA and DVD Copy Control Association are on their side in the issue, which isn’t all that surprising. A hearing on the merits of the case is scheduled for next month, which should prove fairly interesting.