U.S. District Court Judge Marilyn Hall Patel, on August 11, granted a ground-breaking preliminary injunction forbidding RealNetworks, Inc., from distributing DVD “ripping” products known as RealDVD and Facet, a significant step to shield the film industry from the kind of file-sharing and piracy of copyrighted works has been seen in the music industry. Munger, Tolles & Olson represented the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and six major motion picture studio in seeking the preliminary injunction under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Munger Tolles demonstrated that RealNetworks’ products circumvented numerous aspects of the copy-protection technologies that protect DVD content. RealNetworks had argued not only that its products did not circumvent DVD copy-protection technologies but also that consumers have a fair-use right to backup their DVDs. Judge Patel disagree with RealNetworks: “Whatever application the fair use doctrine may have for individual consumers making back-up copies of their own DVDs, it does not portend to save Real from liability under the DMCA in this action.”
The case has made national headlines with IP scholars and Hollywood watching this important chapter in the fate of film piracy, which the MPAA estimated cost the industry $6.5 billion in 2005, the most recent available statistic.
The Munger Tolles team representing the MPAA included Glenn Pomerantz, Bart Williams, Lawrence Barth, Kelly Klaus, Rohit Singla, Rebecca Lynch, Jonathan Blavin, and Ashley Aull.