RealNetworks accuses MPAA of antitrust violations

In court filing, Real claims the six largest film studios violated Sherman Antitrust Act by conspiring against the software maker.

Greg Sandoval Former Staff writer
Greg Sandoval covers media and digital entertainment for CNET News. Based in New York, Sandoval is a former reporter for The Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times. E-mail Greg, or follow him on Twitter at @sandoCNET.
Greg Sandoval
2 min read

RealNetworks has accused the major film studios of antitrust violations in documents filed Wednesday with a federal court.

RealNetworks CEO Rob Glaser RealNetworks

Real, a software company known best for the company's video and music player, has asked U.S. District Judge Marilyn Patel for permission to file an amended second complaint against the six largest film studios as well as Viacom, the entertainment conglomerate and parent company of Parmount Pictures.

Real has been involved in a legal conflict with Hollywood over its release last year of RealDVD, a software that duplicates DVDs and stores the copies on a computer hard drive. The Motion Picture Association of America claims that RealDVD violates copyright law. The two sides have met in court this month so Patel could determine whether to remove an injunction placed on the sale of RealDVD. She halted sales last September, days after the software first went on sale.

An MPAA representative was not immediately available and a Real spokesman declined to comment.

In the latest filing, Real accuses the studios as well as the DVD Copy Control Association, a group dedicated to protecting DVDs from piracy, of violating the Sherman Antitrust Act, the federal statute designed to limit cartels and monopolies.

"RealNetworks has become aware of facts demonstrating that the DVD CCA and the Studio Defendants have engaged in both a horizontal group boycott of RealNetworks," Real said in it's filing. "The testimony of the Studio Defendants during the preliminary injunction hearing further confirmed the existence of a horizontal conspiracy."

Real alleged in the document that the studios were guilty of anti-competitive practices when they agreed to block anyone from making copies of DVDs without their say so.

"(The witnesses) unambiguously," Real said in the court filing,"confirmed the Studios' position that the (Content Scrambling System) License Agreement (which is needed to legally make copies of DVDs) resulted from a joint agreement among the Studios to prohibit all copies of DVD content unless the Studios jointly authorize the making of such a copy."

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