Judge Marilyn Hall Patel

Following a decision in October to uphold a temporary ban on RealNetwork's DVD copying software RealDVD, hearings began Friday in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco to determine the legality of the program, according to PC Magazine.  RealDVD allows users to burn one copy of a DVD onto a harddrive.  The MPAA, who filed the initial suit against RealNetworks, contends that the software violates the Digital Millenium Copyright Act, which states that any software bypasses DVD copy protection is illegal.  RealNetwork's claims that the software does not bypass the encryption and, in fact, increases the encryption in a way that prevents the burned DVD content from being played on any other PC. 

A judge this week upheld the decision barring RealDVD, the DVD-copying software released last week by RealNetworks but immediately challenged by movie studios. According to Wired, U.S. District Judge Marilyn Hall Patel upheld her decision from last week, after reviewing documents related to the case. She concluded that there is sufficient evidence that the technology violates the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Patel is the same judge who presided over the Napster litigation in the late 1990s.

What do you want your customers' digital audio or video experience to be? It's high time that "fair use"—the term that gave us the right to tape TV shows with our VCRs—be re-interpreted for the digital age. As we went to press, Napster, consumers' on-ramp to the MP3 revolution, had publicly waved a $1 billion olive branch, plus a subscription-fee program, at the recording industry, only to be met with a cool reception from the record companies. Both camps were under orders from U.S. District Judge Marilyn Hall Patel to meet with a third-party mediator. In February, a three-member judicial panel ruled to uphold Judge

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