RealDVD Disk Copier Goes Live Amid Legal Challenge

RealNetworks says it will establish legality for copying DVDs if protections remain.

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The DVD copying software from RealNetworks is now available for download at an initial price of $30. I'd get RealDVD while it's still legal.

Seems another court battle looms over the question of backing up of DVDs. Real apparently heard nasties coming from Hollywood, which has managed to get other copying software shut down. So Real says it's launching a pre-emptive strike to get a court's blessing for the software.

That sounds familiar. 321Studios filed a similar pre-emptive strike back in 2003. Fortune magazine called it "akin to jabbing a hornets' nest," as real studios rose up to put the company out of business.

Since then, an outfit called Kaleidescape, which sells a media server that stores DVD copies, won a similar case against Hollywood. Unlike 321Studios, Real also argues that it isn't breaking the code that protects DVDs and that it has layered in all sorts of copy protection.

But Hollywood is appealing the Kaleidescape ruling. RealDVD also allows the electronic copy of the disk to be shared on five devices, which Real says is an emerging standard for family or personal use.

I personally wouldn't bet big against Hollywood on this one. But RealDVD is handy software. And $30 is not a big bet.