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Real files suit against Hollywood studios to keep RealDVD alive

RealNetworks files suit to "protect consumers' fair-use rights" and keep its new RealDVD software available.

Updated 9:30 a.m. PDT with details on MPAA plans.

Well, that didn't take long. Within an hour of making its new RealDVD software available for sale on its Web site, RealNetworks has filed suit against all the major movie studios and the DVD Copy Control Association. According to Real's press release, the lawsuit "asks the court to rule that RealNetworks Home Entertainment Inc.'s RealDVD software...fully complies with the DVD Copy Control Association's license agreement." Real feels it has a strong case because its software does not break the DVD's encryption when copying it to the hard drive (and, according to the company, even adds a second layer of DRM). Real claims this method is similar to that used by Kaleidescape, a provider of high-end home media servers. (Kaleidescape's 2007 courtroom victory over the DVD Copy Control Association is cited by Real as the precedent for the RealDVD software.)

A spokesman for Real confirmed that the suit was pre-emptive, but that the company expects that "the studios will be taking action later today."

Indeed, Hollywood sources confirmed that the Motion Picture Association of America plans to file a lawsuit later Tuesday morning asking a federal court to stop RealNetworks from distributing the company's RealDVD software, which the MPAA alleges allows for the illegal copying of films and violates the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. The studios plan to request a restraining order.

Related coverage: DVD ripping goes legit with RealDVD

CNET News' Greg Sandoval contributed to this story.