Real Networks’ new product will allow users to rip a DVD to their home PC or laptop legally by protecting the files. Will this prevent people from sharing movies on P2P file-sharing sites?
The RealDVD software, which is slated for release this year, makes a backup copy of any DVD, including preserving all the menus and extra features. The application will cost $30 dollars and will also allow you to transfer the movie to up to 5 other computers at $20 per license.
RealDVD allows legal backups of your DVD collection by adding additional DRM protection that prevents users from uploading copies to the Internet or burning a new copy onto a disk. However, this means that you can only watch the DVD on your laptop or PC-connected home theater system.
Users of the software do not have to certify that they own the DVD that they are ripping, which has raised concerns about the potential for copying movies rented from Blockbuster or Netflix. This problem is somewhat mitigated by the fact that users will not be able to share the files online.
The RealDVD software is being marketed as a legitimate alternative to software that rips DVD to unprotected formats like MPEG or AVI. Those files can then be uploaded to file sharing sites, much to the chagrin of the movie studios who created the content.
There are free, albeit more dubious, alternatives that allow users to copy a DVD onto another disk or convert it into an open format that can be played by any media player. This fact makes it unlikely that people who rip DVDs to share online will want to pay for a license in order to have less control over the resulting copy.
Real Network’s new software is likely to be most attractive to users that do not have the technical expertise to use the free applications and either have a PC-connected home theater or want to watch movies on their laptops. While RealDVD is not likely to stop movies from appearing on file-sharing networks, it could be an excellent solution for many home entertainment systems.