RealNetworks’ recent decision to sell DVD ripping software, RealDVD, has the public asking: “Why not rip DVDs like CDs?”
Doing a Google News search today for the software, I got over 200 hits, many from decidedly mainstream sources like USAToday and USNews. Those of us who pride ourselves on some modicum of tech savvy have long known that this was possible, but RealDVD has enough financial backing, perceived legitimacy, and user friendliness that it may reshape how many people watch movies.
The next big question is when the motion picture industry will send out their lawyers, waving the DMCA’s Section 1201 in RealNetworks’ faces. While it is probably the best publicized program to do so, RealDVD is just one of many brave commercial programs trotting out onto this legal minefield. From the EFF DeepLinks blog:
Real has chosen to follow in Kaleidescape’s footsteps. Apparently, it is not alone — CEPro has an informative article summarizing all the DVD media server solutions for the home theater market that were announced at the recent CEDIA conference. Looks like Hollywood’s iron-fisted grip of DVDs is slipping a little every day.
Ironically, I’ve been falling behind on these developments as I focus on my dissertation on DRM politics. I’d assumed that the free programs, like HandBrake and MacTheRipper, were still filling this vacuum. It’s good to catch up, and even better to hear that somebody’s fighting and winning against the DVD-CCA.
RealNetworks has made a splash of late with their RealDVD software. Other small-scale commercial programs have come and gone; most memorably among them was 321 Studios‘ DVD X Copy. Under the pressure of Hollywood’s massive legal onslaught, 321 folded up shop.
RealNetworks may not fold over so easily. They are a much more substantial company, and the studios are more likely to negotiate something mutually acceptable.