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RealNetworks and Movie Studios Settle Lawsuit Over DVD Copying

4 March 2010
RealNetworks Inc. said it will pay $4.5 million and drop its appeal of a court order barring sales of its DVD-copying software to settle a lawsuit by Walt Disney Co. and other Hollywood movie studios claiming the technology violates copyright-protection laws.
RealNetworks also will refund about 2,700 customers who bought Real, a $30 software program that allows users to save one backup copy of a movie to a computer hard drive, according to an e-mailed statement.
“We are please to put this litigation behind us,” Bob Kimball, acting Chief Executive Officer for RealNetworks, said yesterday in the statement. “Until this dispute, Real had always enjoyed a productive working relationship with Hollywood. With this litigation resolved, I hope we can find mutually beneficial ways to use Real technology to bring Hollywood’s great work to consumers.”
The $4.5 million payment to the studios for costs and attorneys fees will be reflected in financial results for the quarter ended Dec. 31, RealNetworks said.
U.S. District Judge Marilyn Patel in San Francisco ruled in August that Real circumvents copyright-protection laws and granted movie studios’ request for an order permanently banning the product’s sale. Patel approved the settlement yesterday, according to a court filing.
Glenn Pomerantz, an attorney for the movie studios, didn’t immediately return a message seeking comment yesterday.
RealNetworks, based in Seattle, fell 9 cents, or 1.8 percent, to $4.84 in Nasdaq Stock Market trading yesterday. The shares have climbed 30 percent this year.
The case is RealNetworks v. DVD Copy Control Association, 08-04548, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Francisco).
Source: By Karen Gullo, Businessweek
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