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RealNetworks surrenders in RealDVD case
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March 6, 2010
5:58 AM
karen
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http://news.cnet.com/8301-31001_3-10463425-261.html

I wonder how (or if) this affects other products like DVD Flick, the WinX products, etc.

The short synopsis of the link is that RealNetworks was sued by MPAA and lost for creating a RealDVD software which allowed consumers to make backup copies of their DVDs on their computers.

March 6, 2010
7:03 AM
Ramesh Kumar
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karen said:

http://news.cnet.com/8301-3100…..5-261.html

I wonder how (or if) this affects other products like DVD Flick, the WinX products, etc.

The short synopsis of the link is that RealNetworks was sued by MPAA and lost for creating a RealDVD software which allowed consumers to make backup copies of their DVDs on their computers.


 

Hi Karen! Smile 

In one word……………."Negatively". In six words……………….."Negatively in countries which respect DRM".

So far I've admired you for providing right answers, now I also admire you for asking great questions. Wow!

There are 2 categories of software which enable copyrighted content like movies. The first type aka earlier genre included those like Nero aka DRM controlled software i.e. developers who aligned themselves in a manner of "coding" which never allows you to copy DVD of movies etc which are copyrighted. The second type are software which allows you to breach DRM aka copyright. There is another "layer" to this practice. Developers in the second type explicitly also provide software …….either sister apps or "comprehensive" apps which not only offer the functionality of "copying" to hard disk but also the added limited functionality of "breaking" copyright seal as well.

In earlier days (not too far back) there were around 14 ways a CD was "copy protected" now this same approach has been finessed to DVD's too. For the record I do not as yet know how many ways a copy protection has been "breached" or is it "invented" where DVD's are concerned Surprised

Ramesh

March 6, 2010
7:13 AM
Ramesh Kumar
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That said, there are added dimensions & added consequences to this tale.

I do not elaborate because of Netiquette. If you do a correlation study you'd observe that "DRM breach software" evolve from only from certain countries.

I won't say certain continents only……….because there is a certain continent which also houses the world's second largest country in terms of GDP………..clue………it's name starts with J. In the same continent there is another fine country who does well in the software arena but not by doing such things. Its name starts with I

This does not mean that all the remaining alphabets are reflective of countries which do this. Its just that Netiquette prevents me from completing those words.

RameshSmile

March 6, 2010
7:16 AM
Ramesh Kumar
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Finally, in my view, if this is strictly enforced what would happen is that sales of DVD would go down but sales of SVCD would go up.

Please Google about SVCD. You'll get to read about what is SVCD, when it was born & where it was born

Ramesh

March 6, 2010
7:36 AM
Ramesh Kumar
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Remember Roald Dahl? A famed Norwegian short story writer – the writer famous for providing a twist at the end of the tale? The CD-SVCD-DVD story is a twist-at-the-end-of-the-day tale even though he never wrote it! Surprised

A DVD (I refer to DVD 5 – Single Sided Single Layered) is 6.2 times larger than a CD in terms of file size aka 4.3 GB versus 700 MB. So if a CD can hold one movie of 700 MB a DVD 5 logically should be able to hold more than 6 such movies right? Wrong!

A DVD can hold hold only 1 such movie. *In other words the added "size" is formatted to hold more "quality" & not more "quantity".*

Invariably a DVD "outprices" a CD by a ratio of 1.5:1 but "outqualities" quality by a ratio >>>>> 1.5:1 . I intuit that in this case technology evolved the way it did in order to counter piracy. I intuit that that's also the reason why documentation in Dvd Players & Recorders is poor & varies mindboggingly & irritably from country to country. It is a direct consequence of "movie producer lobby & music producer lobby". Bigger the industry/industries….bigger the lobby/lobbies. Nature of "breach of copy protection" determines evolution of "newer forms of copy protection". The cops & robber story simply keeps evolving with new twists & turns!

DVD's are liked, demanded & bought……even though "size" wise it has its idiosyncracies. Of course the other good thing is that:-

  1. Dvd's rarely suffer laser rot
  2. Are far more scratch proof than Cd's can ever hope to be
  3. Cd could last 10 to 30 yrs & a Dvd from 50 to 300 yrs. Technological obsolescence in physical media however averages between 10 to 20 years so in that sense the manufacturers of both have provided shelf life overkill ;)
  4. So no one "minds" if a Dvd takes 90 minutes to author whereas a Cd just takes 12 minutes!

You sure have opened an "intellectual Pandora's Box" Karen. I salute you once again.Smile

This case, and if there are more like them would (or is could the better word) affect Countries (& their GDP), physical media, developers & software too. It will also put a new spin aka interpretation on what constitutes copyright – the DRM or the physical media

RameshSmile

March 6, 2010
10:05 AM
Pwnana
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Real is probably the only company big enough to get sued for creating software like this.  Obviously WinX products are almost identical but they never got sued, because WinX is not very big.  Other DVD ripping software just rips to an ISO or video file, while it looks like RealDVD rips it and then adds it to an itunes like library, which may also be a concern.  Maybe it also had something to do with its ease of use, which would have given RealDVD a large market appeal. 

I think the real reason behind this was that the MPAA wanted to stop the Facet.  The article specifically stated by killing RealDVD, the Facet was also finished.  But I dont get why they would hate the Facet so much.  I assume the average user would not be able to take the movies saved to the Facet and share them, which is the whole controversy of RealDVD.  The only thing I could think of would be that the Facet would allow users to copy rental DVDs, but that could possibly be fixed with some (as much as I hate to say it) better DRMs.  

 

Now that I think about it, thats possibly why it is perfectly legal to rip CDs, despite all the music pirating going on because of it.  There are no CD rental stores where you could just rent all the CDs you want and rip them for free.  With services like Netflix and RedBox, it's very easy to get the movies you want for very cheap.

You got Pwnd
March 6, 2010
11:07 AM
karen
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I just find it annoying because if I want to rip my DVDs (that I have legally purchased) to a hard drive for backup purposes, this lawsuit is essentially saying that it is illegal to do so.  Now, I've never used RealDVD, but I have used both DVDFlick and various WinX products.  But I've never shared them with anyone besides my immediate family, who, of course, also have access to the DVDs themselves. 

And, although I'm not actually a gun-rights advocate, it does remind me of their argument that it is not the gun itself that is bad, it is the purpose that someone uses it for.  So in the case of copying CDs or DVDs, etc, it is not the copying that is bad, it is the person who decided to illegally share it.

March 7, 2010
1:49 AM
Ramesh Kumar
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Pwnana said:

Real is probably the only company big enough to get sued for creating software like this.  Obviously WinX products are almost identical but they never got sued, because WinX is not very big.  Other DVD ripping software just rips to an ISO or video file, while it looks like RealDVD rips it and then adds it to an itunes like library, which may also be a concern.  Maybe it also had something to do with its ease of use, which would have given RealDVD a large market appeal. 

I think the real reason behind this was that the MPAA wanted to stop the Facet.  The article specifically stated by killing RealDVD, the Facet was also finished.  But I dont get why they would hate the Facet so much.  I assume the average user would not be able to take the movies saved to the Facet and share them, which is the whole controversy of RealDVD.  The only thing I could think of would be that the Facet would allow users to copy rental DVDs, but that could possibly be fixed with some (as much as I hate to say it) better DRMs.  

 

Now that I think about it, thats possibly why it is perfectly legal to rip CDs, despite all the music pirating going on because of it.  There are no CD rental stores where you could just rent all the CDs you want and rip them for free.  With services like Netflix and RedBox, it's very easy to get the movies you want for very cheap.


 

Smile

  1. Is it only a size issue -  No it is not. YMMV. Law enforcers are not sueing & screwing RealNetworks only because it is a large company. Likewise they are not letting off Digiarty off only because it is a small company. RealNetworks is an American company based in Seattle USA. Digiarty is a small company based in a country whose name starts with a "C". Digiarty benefits from this "selective screwmanship" & take my word, it would exploit this to the hilt. Arresting a home company in a home country is simpler because there are lesser diplomatic, economic, financial & political considerations at a macro country level. I cannot elaborate beyond that for sake of Netiquette. I am sure you are well aware of current affairs. That said, if those multi-angle considerations did not weigh in it is best for any country to "catch" big & small offenders simply because if you leave out the small ones today they will become big offenders tomorrow.This is true irrespective of whether a company is "home" or "foreign"
  2. The point about ISO versus copying – A rip software can offer intermediate aka partial functionalities or it can cover "A to Z" in terms of transfer of file from DVD to hard disk. Both varieties of software exist. That said DVD copy protection often gets evaded if the "intermediate" method gets used aka convert it to ISO or other image formats. Many have used such a workaround. You are right the "A to Z" approach of RealDVD software screwed up the company. The MPAA did not mind – at least one bad boy got shafted. The fact that the bad boy was a big one suited them fine. For sometime the film distributors & producers would earn more royalties because of "temporarily reduced DVD piracy levels"
  3. CD's are not suffering as much now – only because in an advanced market most rental libraries would mostly be renting technologically advanced physical media aka DVD rather than technologically older physical media like CD

There is one other deadly point & I must say the RealNetworks company was quite shrewd & streetsmart in keeping it away from media & public gaze. SurprisedThey obviously have a very canny Media Relations Manager. Wink

RealNetworks has 2 business lines – audio & video. The one which got shafted now is video.

The audio business division is the one famous for RealPlayer which uses the largest proprietory streaming audio file format aka .rm, .ra. This is the acknowledged king in the streaming audio category. For years, this company faltered in strategy in the audio division. YMMV RealPlayer pretty much languishes nowadays & tries to prop itself up by upversioning constantly even without meaningful changelogs. YMMV.

.rm & .ra files were pretty much "closed architecture". You could not even (till recently) find a converter software for converting between ".rm, .ra" to ".mp3 or .ogg". The company resolutely (foolishly) prevented it. I intuit that many artists & moviemakers would have hated them because of this strategy & wasted business opportunities because of it. Many Movie moghuls & Music moghuls would have fumed helplessly because the audio quality of .rm & .ra is superlative & unmatched in streaming audio. I intuit the exCEO got away with his sins leaving the latest CEO to suffer the consequences. The new CEO is very savvy & has business streetsmarts – but alas too little too late. Right man; wrong time.

Because of silly helmsmanship in the past & possibly also due to autocratism the audio division would have done poorly. To compensate for this the video division guys went to the opposite extreme. They created a solution which would convert everything in a jiffy to the hard disk. The video division was a complete antithesis in strategy to what the audio guys did. Whenever a behaviour is extreme – whether in business or life it shafts you in the end. One always has to strike a balance. Here they neither struck a balance in the audio business nor in the video one.

"Do unto others what others do unto you". The audio business relates to "Do unto others" part the video division suffered from "what others do unto you" part. An irony of extremes if ever there was one.

Ramesh Smile

 

March 7, 2010
2:12 AM
Ramesh Kumar
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karen said:

I just find it annoying because if I want to rip my DVDs (that I have legally purchased) to a hard drive for backup purposes, this lawsuit is essentially saying that it is illegal to do so.  Now, I've never used RealDVD, but I have used both DVDFlick and various WinX products.  But I've never shared them with anyone besides my immediate family, who, of course, also have access to the DVDs themselves. 

And, although I'm not actually a gun-rights advocate, it does remind me of their argument that it is not the gun itself that is bad, it is the purpose that someone uses it for.  So in the case of copying CDs or DVDs, etc, it is not the copying that is bad, it is the person who decided to illegally share it.


 

Smile

Karen I can only say I know where you are coming from. As to reasons & choices, that is purely a matter of personal choice & interpretation in all things including copyright issues. Smile

There is a very weird example I am sharing with you……read thread on European Vigilance vs Microsoft & Google in the main blog. A commentor called Hyst mentioned that France prevents copyrighted multimedia files from being downloaded but allows uploading them whereas another EU country does the exact opposite. Both are EU countries. I could never figure that one out…….ever.

RameshSmile

March 7, 2010
9:44 AM
Ami
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you know i saw the new alice in wonderland movie for sale last week .it was pirated of course, these pirates actually make money from these "genuine" movies.i really do feel for you and your situation, i suppose we are small enough , so we have to live iwth these regulations.

ami
March 7, 2010
12:00 PM
Pwnana
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What I meant by the "big company small company thing" is that Digiarty or WinX have a very tiny market share, so it really would not be worth the MPAA's time to try to sue them, as they would probably lose more money than they would gain.  But Real has a huge market share in comparison, so if they released a DVD ripping software it could potentially be extremely damaging.

 

CDs are suffering a lot now.  What with the combination of pirating and digital content, the sale of CDs has fallen drastically.  I dont think it has anything to do with CDs being old and DVDs being new. Same thing is happening to the newspaper business.

 

@Karen – You're right, and that was Real's argument in defense – that people have a right to backup media that they own.  But this doesnt seem to apply to DVDs or video games.

You got Pwnd
March 7, 2010
12:15 PM
Locutus
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Oh, the site that was :(
March 7, 2010
5:53 PM
karen
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Locutus said:


 

That's great!!! I would say post it in the Jokes thread, but it isn't a joke.  Disney likes to advertise their "Fast Play" option on their DVDs.  If you select it, then you have to sit through all the previews and then it automatically starts the movie rather than going to the menu.  If you skip "Fast Play" then you can get to the menu and start your movie much quicker.  I'm sure some marketing genius thought of that one.

March 7, 2010
7:47 PM
Ramesh Kumar
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karen said:

I just find it annoying because if I want to rip my DVDs (that I have legally purchased) to a hard drive for backup purposes, this lawsuit is essentially saying that it is illegal to do so.  Now, I've never used RealDVD, but I have used both DVDFlick and various WinX products.  But I've never shared them with anyone besides my immediate family, who, of course, also have access to the DVDs themselves. 

And, although I'm not actually a gun-rights advocate, it does remind me of their argument that it is not the gun itself that is bad, it is the purpose that someone uses it for.  So in the case of copying CDs or DVDs, etc, it is not the copying that is bad, it is the person who decided to illegally share it.


 

Hi Karen! Smile

In a rhetorical sense this is one question which still remains unanswered – is ripping a licenced DVD to hard disk wrong? It leaves a kind of aftertaste; a twinge of conscience; a feeling of guilt; a query as it were! Unless it gets directly addressed it won't let us rest in peace.

Sometimes ignorance causes guilt; at other times guilt sustains ignorance! 

Globalization has complicated many issues whether it be "genetically altered food" or as in this case "copyright". There are 4 different logical ways of looking at this but according to me only one method is correct. That one way I am highlighting in green; the other 3 in red. This is one issue where "only lawyer's logic works". Ordinary logic won't lead any of us anywhere YMMV. Btw I am no lawyer but picked up some understanding of it while managing businesses:-

1) Conventional Logic:- Both WinX & RealNetworks are wrongdoers so both should be avoided. Aka don't ever rip a licenced DVD to hard disk. Hmm!

2) Out Of Box Logic:- Its okay to use WinX since I am only transferring a licenced DVD to my comp. Both DVD & comp belong only to me. Aka it is perfectly okay to rip a licenced DVD to hard disk. Hmm!

3) Domicile Citizen Logic:- It is not the copying that is bad, it is the person who decided to illegally share it. Since I have a licenced DVD & share it only with my family who in any case have access to that licenced DVD I do nothing wrong by ripping it to my computer. ( a gun rights genre of argument). Hmm!

4) Global Logic:- RealNetworks got arrested; WinX did not. So using WinX is not wrong

Only the last genre makes sense to me. Here's why:-

1)Conventional Logic:- "Both WinX & RealNetworks are wrongdoers so both should be avoided. Aka don't ever rip a licenced DVD to hard disk" – This is an emotional & logical overkill & many of us have been "guilty" of this. It is needless & excessive. It is guaranteed to leave people with a broken heart & a tormented conscience………………needlessly……….. always. As we read on you'll see why. So this argument goes out of the window.

2)Out Of Box Logic:- Its okay to use WinX since I am only transferring a licenced DVD to my comp. Both DVD & comp belong only to me. Aka it is perfectly okay to rip a licenced DVD to hard disk. This is totally specious & flawed. The DVD EULA specifically states what is allowed & what is not. It prohibits this form of usage due to one reason – everyone is not honest; every family is not equally honest; every member in a family is not equally honest. The DVD licensor cannot possibly find that out. So this argument goes out of the window. We need to "walk this talk".

3)Domicile Citizen Logic:- It is not the copying that is bad, it is the person who decided to illegally share it. Since I have a licenced DVD & share it only with my family who in any case have access to that licenced DVD I do nothing wrong by ripping it to my computer – a gun rights genre of argument. I disagree. Everyone & every company – movie studio or movie moghul is in business to make money; apart from of course providing a good product or service. In the last decade the percentage of box office hits has declined. Take Bollywood. From a measly 7% it has fallen to just 3%. Yes, only 3% of Bollywood films are box office hits. Hollywood box office hit rate has tumbled too. I remember reading that total number of movies produced globally & countrywise has either stagnated or actually declined! As good fellow global citizens (& dottechies) surely none of us want to spoil anyone's livelihood by reducing their royalty earnings just because of our personal greed. A movie played on hard disk "feels better" or at least "wears out" our DVD Player less or at least allows us to watch a movie when our DVD Player has gone for servicing or repair. Therefore this argument also does not wash & in fact goes out of the window. Incidentally by using DVD Player less one also lowers the sales of DVD Players……..affecting their livelihood as well.

4)Global Logic – RealNetworks got arrested; WinX did not. So using WinX is not wrong. This is a simple argument & the only one which works; out of all the 4 approaches Karen. The authorities shafted RealNetworks only. MPAA shafted RealNetworks only. Country is bigger than Company. QED! Decision to arrest only RealNetworks was a considered decision. Considered by the country that is. The enforcers enforced enforcement after due consideration.

Karen in our "shades-of-grey world" issues are increasingly becoming "global in character" rather than "merely national in character." You & I form part of this kind of generation & this kind of complexity. The country/s must also be earning royalties, import duty & taxes from WinX. Perhaps in addition to the "copyright rot" they were not earning taxes properly from RealNetworks (the company's audio division problems). Who is to say? There are many Enrons & many Enron-ish CEO's still lurking around. No, I am not rationalizing. All I am saying is everyone of us has to choose at least 1 out of these 4 methods and follow it.

There is of course a 5th method too – stop ripping DVD's to comps……..even if the DVD is licenced & the comp belongs to you aka "walk the moral talk".

Life is tricky. Sometimes it puts us on a scale of justice. On one side is "enjoyment". On the other side is "truth". We can choose "enjoyment" & drop "truth" or choose "truth" & drop "enjoyment". I've faced (Like you've faced) a lot of such tricky situations at home & office. I either keep the scale balanced or choose "truth" over "enjoyment"…….always. Its always worked splendidly for me…….every time at work & home. Sure it needs diplomacy, psychology & humour to pull it off rather than being a "brusque bull in a china shop" approach. No pun intended!Wink

To get there I do only one thing. There are situations where one has to think as a person (this worked prior to globalization); there are others where you have to think as a lawyer (this worked after globalization). The latter is not necessarily bad………………always. Btw I am not a lawyer, I don't swear by them nor swear at them.

In an analogical way I am glad I wrote this. I felt that unless the core of your thread got addressed I for one would always have felt that there was "unfinished business" a feeling that there are still some loose ends lying around.

Dear Karen, I've chosen to write this way this particular time after so many posts & after 36 days of friendship & knowing you. I have nothing but deep affection & respect for you. If I have inadvertently hurt you I am sorry. Feel free to add YMMV anywhere or everywhere across my post/s.

Once again…….this is quite an intellectual Pandora's box you've opened here.

RameshSmile

 

 

March 7, 2010
9:43 PM
Ramesh Kumar
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Pwnana said:

What I meant by the "big company small company thing" is that Digiarty or WinX have a very tiny market share, so it really would not be worth the MPAA's time to try to sue them, as they would probably lose more money than they would gain.  But Real has a huge market share in comparison, so if they released a DVD ripping software it could potentially be extremely damaging.

 

CDs are suffering a lot now.  What with the combination of pirating and digital content, the sale of CDs has fallen drastically.  I dont think it has anything to do with CDs being old and DVDs being new. Same thing is happening to the newspaper business.

 

@Karen – You're right, and that was Real's argument in defense – that people have a right to backup media that they own.  But this doesnt seem to apply to DVDs or video games.


 

Abolutely right Pwnana – Your last sentence says it all.

Dvd's & video games even when they "sell" to you are actually only "licencing" to you. They continue to be the "owner." You & I are only "licencees". Since only they own it, they disallow even us even to copy it for ourselves.

You, all dottechies, Karen, & I are honest. But then the Dvd owner may not be able to draw such a conclusion about every single human being on earth. Hence the EULA, hence the restriction.

Ramesh Smile

March 8, 2010
6:22 PM
karen
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And just in time for this discussion, WinX DVD Ripper Platinum is the GOTD.

March 8, 2010
8:20 PM
Ramesh Kumar
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karen said:

And just in time for this discussion, WinX DVD Ripper Platinum is the GOTD.


 

Saw it! Smile

I wish some dottechie would clarify 2 things:-

  1. Is the previous version of Pro to be uninstalled before installing this or can it be overwritten?
  2. Is uninstallment to be done using Revo Uninstaller 1.85 or the app's own uninstaller?

One person parellelly installed this Pro version along with the previous Pro version. I'd like to avoid that if possible.

I also felt that the developer shrewdly tried to corner more hard disk space for his own apps by adopting that strategy aka mode of coding. Ah well, it is a competitive world I guess Smile

Of course it does not take away from the fact that WinX products are of good quality

Ramesh Smile

March 8, 2010
8:46 PM
Ramesh Kumar
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Karen Smile

RealNetworks got shafted due to one more reason. Since this is the 18th post on this thread let me list out all the reasons why they got shafted & mark the new reason in blue:-

  1. Because they are a big company
  2. Because they are a "home" company aka "domicile"
  3. Because their audio division antagonized many movie moghuls & recording studios because of "totally closed architecture" strategy, those guys & lobbies were waiting to hit back. They hit the video division
  4. Because their video division antagonized many movie moghuls & recording studios because of "totally open architecture" strategy, those guys & lobbies were waiting to hit back *any dvd could be ripped……..irrespective of file format or nature copy protection*
  5. To add to this "sin list" Facet is a hardware – DVD Player of theirs which could download 70 movies. I intuit that Facet is more technologically advanced product in features & "file size capacity" compared to other DVD Players & to add fuel to the "fire of envy" it got launched in the world's largest market. Therefore the DVD Player lobby must have joined hands with the moghuls & lobbies in shafting RealNetworks

These combination of circumstances was too threatening to critics & competitors – bitter past memories + need for vendetta + paradigm shift software + paradigm shift hardware + choice of launch market

Had this strategy succeeded it would have succeeded brilliantly; if it failed it could only fail collosally. Such a strategy never has a middle path in terms of success or failure.

Competitors sometimes follow the adage – If you can't beat them, shaft them

Ramesh Smile

March 13, 2010
2:57 AM
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This is my take on this whole issue. Back in the old days when napster first appeared the record companies freaked out. Rather than embracing this new technology they decided to go war over it. I can fully understand people who write and perform wanting their work protected. However as you know this isn’t the case. The folks who sit and write lyrics and perform receivevery little. It was and still is all about the record companies. they intern forced  DRM to be placed within everything. I could see this argument if the creators of such products actually received full and just compensation for there work. But sadly this is not the case….

In the end everything will be OK. If it's not OK then it's not the end.
March 13, 2010
12:19 PM
Pwnana
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But the purpose of this software was to backup and play DVDs onto a computer; DVDs  which have (hopefully) been already paid for.  Its not like ripping the DVD to a computer for easier watching is costing anybody anything.  I think there is a good reason for not wanting this product on the market, but thats not Real's fault, thats the pirates' fault.  Why does Real get punished?

You got Pwnd
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