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RealNetworks in real trouble over DVD copying software?

RealNetworks in real trouble over DVD copying software?

Published: 06.05.09 at 15:04

Copyright quarrels from the US first with news that the company behind the controversial RealDVD software application is about to do battle in court in California with the six major Hollywood studios represented by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA). RealNetworks in the dock because (claims MPAA) the RealDVD application enables users to illegally copy commercial DVDs. RealNetworks can't see the problem and argues that the software is no different from Apple iTunes or other programs that enable users to copy CDs onto their computers. The case hinges on the fact that RealDVD bypasses the so-called digital rights management (DRM) copy protection on DVDs, allegedly in contravention of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act even though (as RealNetworks claims) the making of private back-up copies is protected under the fair use exception to copyright infringement under US law. We'll let you know what happens in court but in the meantime check out the BBC for more details.

Staying with DRM and US tech-y stuff for a bit longer, The Guardian informs us that Apple is being sued over allegedly 'baseless' threats it made against a web publisher after it published details of how to circumvent the DRM on Apple's iTunes. OdioWorks, the company behind the Bluwiki site which hosts user-generated content, initially removed the pages after Apple alleged the advice was in contravention of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. However, OdioWorks, aided by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, has now commenced legal action against Apple on the grounds that Apple had no legal basis to make the threats and therefore itself broke US IP law. 

Finally this week in a story entirely unconnected with technology, we hear that Krispy Kreme doughnuts has got itself into a spot of trade mark bother Down Under after it produced a range of doughnuts based on much-loved Australian sweeties. One variety in particular, based on an Aussie fave called the 'Iced Vo-Vo' and termed the 'Iced Dough-Vo', has prompted a trade mark action from Arnott's, which has held the registered trade mark for the Vo-Vo for over a hundred years. Krispy Kreme argues that the limited edition product was a tribute to the iconic Aussie original, though (as Out-law points out) under UK law this would not serve to reduce its liability for trade mark infringement.

Photo credit: Dude Crush


Please note that this article provides general information only but is not to be regarded as legal advice. You must take advice from a specialist lawyer in relation to your specific circumstances. Further, you should seek additional legal advice when dealing with parties based in other parts of the world or works originating from other parts of the world as the legal position may vary.


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