RealDVD distribution halted for longer

Federal judge extends temporary restraining order

A federal judge in Northern California has extended a temporary restraining order filed by the MPAA against RealNetworks, halting the distribution of the company's recently launched RealDVD software.

The terms of the TRO are not known. U.S. District Court Judge Marilyn Patel apparently issued the first TRO last Friday; however, that order has not been made public.

Both sides appeared before Patel Tuesday in which the judge extended the order, which includes taking the RealDVD product off the market, according to a source who attended the hearing.

It's likely RealDVD will remain off the market while the case is pending. Patel indicated at the hearing that she had concerns over violations of the Digital Millennium Copyrights Act and found RealNetworks seemed rushed to take its product to the market, despite the studios seeking an amicable resolution before the launch, a source said.

In a statement, the MPAA said it was "gratified the court recognized the harm of RealDVD to the motion picture industry and the strength of our arguments that the product circumvents the copyright protection building into DVD."

RealNetworks said of the TRO that Patel extended it so "she can hold a more complete hearing to be scheduled."

RealNetworks filed suit in Northern California against the MPAA on Sept. 30, the day it launched its RealDVD player, which allows users to download DVDs to their computers to watch.

The MPAA also filed suit the same day in Los Angeles federal court, claiming the software violates the Digital Millennium Copyright Act by allowing users to circumvent encryption coding and illegally copy the DVDs. Both cases are now being heard in Northern California.

RealNetworks claims there is nothing illegal about its product, but has stopped the public was using the software while the case is pending.

"RealDVD is currently unavailable," reads the product's Web site. "Due to recent legal action taken by the Hollywood movie studios against us, RealDVD is temporarily unavailable. Rest assured, we will continue to work diligently to provide you with software that allows you to make a legal copy of your DVDs for your own use."