Almost reflexively, six studios have filed suit against RealNetworks for their brand-new DVD copying software. RealDVD, as it is (was?) called, was tepidly received on account of crippling DRM which only allows for viewing of a ripped DVD on one PC, precluding the portability that might account for someone wanting to rip a DVD in the first place. That uselessness is precisely why these suits are so interesting; it's difficult to see what the studios—Paramount Pictures, Twentieth Century Fox, Universal Studios, Warner Brothers, Columbia Pictures, the Walt Disney Company and Sony— actually think they stand to lose.
The stakes for RealNetworks aren't terribly high either, as sales of RealDVD might have been slow because of, oh, I don't know, the mountains of free software that does a better and more complete job. Within the day, Real filed a countersuit which could possibly set a new precedent for the interpretation of the Hollywood's DVD licence. Even in a best-case scenario, the most legal headway that could probably be made would be to permit neutered software like RealDVD, which would still leave any useful method of DVD backup well outside of the law. [NYT]