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Software The Courts

RealNetworks Sues Dutch Webmaster Over Hyperlink To Freeware 297

Posted by timothy
from the verhuur-zoekend-gedrag dept.
An anonymous reader writes "In the ever lasting contest for the most idiotic lawsuit, RealNetworks has sued a Dutch man for posting a link to a competing freeware program that allegedly infringes on RealNetworks' intellectual property. The company also secretly obtained a court order that resulted in confiscation of all computers belonging to the man and his family. The 26-year-old has already incurred over €66,000 in legal fees and if he loses the case, he's facing €210,000 in fines. Where are the Anonymous when you need them?"
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RealNetworks Sues Dutch Webmaster Over Hyperlink To Freeware

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  • looses (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 26, 2011 @02:10AM (#37215998)
    God damn it will you PLEASE learn the difference between "looses" and "loses"? You really must be a moron if you can't remember such a simple distinction.
    • Re:looses (Score:5, Funny)

      by maglor_83 (856254) on Friday August 26, 2011 @02:18AM (#37216044)

      Yeah what a looser!

    • Re:looses (Score:5, Funny)

      by airfoobar (1853132) on Friday August 26, 2011 @02:49AM (#37216182)
      If in doubt, use booth.
    • by Dunbal (464142) *
      u mad, u luze bro
  • by whoever57 (658626) on Friday August 26, 2011 @02:12AM (#37216002) Journal
    ... that RealNetworks is still in business.
    • by upside (574799) on Friday August 26, 2011 @02:39AM (#37216130) Journal

      Yup. The "real" funny part is that Real killed themselves by turning their product into a PC-suffocating piece of bloatware. Real Alternative was a direct response to that exact bloat. I'd be laughing if it weren't so sad for the defendant.

      It's sad how failed companies refuse to go down quietly, instead they go legal supernova.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 26, 2011 @04:21AM (#37216600)

        Now, this dates back /years/ ago but at some point I was really happy with the RealPlayer that I decided to license it. It was simply awesome; I started it up and could view just about anything. From US news broadcasts to Japanese TV series right down to stuff from India and Germany. (this was "pre-Youtube" time so to speak).

        Then other solutions emerged (and my interest slowly waned) but guess what? Next time I started the app. (a few years later) I was greeted with "you should upgrade!", which I didn't do. Why? I was happy with the way it was.

        Add another few months and this time I wasn't able to run the program anymore period. "You need to upgrade" was all which was said, of course without any options for a real upgrade. I could pick another "free" player and that was basically it. My paid for enhancements were gone. Heck; my whole player was gone.

        DON'T TAKE MY WORD FOR IT... Just set your disdain aside for a moment and look at the realplayer product page [real.com]. Question: do you see anything there which hints at upgrade options for existing users ? Well, there aren't any.

        Realplayer was the best learning experience for me (and all in all not /that/ expensive fortunately) to never buy anything from Real networks again.

        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          One time I bought a shareware windows cd player app because it had the best CDDB support. Then it got merged into some piece of shit media player with a shit interface.

          What I took away was NEVER to buy software if you can avoid it, because they will surely fuck it up.

          Now I only buy really cheap software, like games from GOG on sale. Don't buy any software you can't afford to have be a waste of money.

    • by sjames (1099)

      Honestly, until I saw this, I thought they were long dead. They certainly haven't done anything relevant for a long time.

      • Indeed. I remember back in the day when all the websites offering any kind of streaming did it in RealMedia and some of them offered Quicktime as an alternative. Real was pretty big then and everyone had RealPlayer installed. Then gradually RealPlayer started getting larger and larger, adding this or that to it so that it wasn't merely a player anymore, and its usage seemed to drop sharply. At the same time Windows Media started gaining popularity for streaming, and it took a surprisingly short amount of ti

    • by martijnd (148684) on Friday August 26, 2011 @03:05AM (#37216230)

      They are probably making lots of money from bored housewifes playing "casual" games -- not from the Real software that was once their core product.

      They sued Microsoft ages ago, settled in 2005 for 76mln and bought several online gaming sites from the cash.

      Microsoft and RealNetworks Resolve Antitrust Case [microsoft.com]
      Gamehouse [realnetworks.com]

    • by supersat (639745) on Friday August 26, 2011 @05:52AM (#37216922)
      No, the biggest shock in this stor...BUFFERING...
  • by dwater (72834)

    I don't get the reference to DNS. If a web page has a link on it, what does it's existence have to do with DNS?

    • by whoever57 (658626)
      Perhaps it was a link to an entry in his own domain table, which pointed to the IP of the server (not his) that hosted the other software.
  • by dynamo (6127)

    How ironic is it that this post ends by asking where anonymous is when you need him / them, and starts with 'an anonymous reader writes'?

    • I'd say it's about a 6 on the irony scale*.

      *The Irony scale can be defined as starting at 0 with Alanis Morissette's song "Isn't it Ironic" and ending at 10 with Alanis Morissette's song "Isn't it Ironic"

  • Streisand effect? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 26, 2011 @02:31AM (#37216090)

    Real Alternative [free-codecs.com].

    • by c0lo (1497653) on Friday August 26, 2011 @03:05AM (#37216232)

      Real Alternative [free-codecs.com].

      Damn'd. Now RealNetworks will confiscate all the /. servers. See what have you done?

      • by thasmudyan (460603) * <udo.schroeterNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Friday August 26, 2011 @05:14AM (#37216804) Homepage

        Damn'd. Now RealNetworks will confiscate all the /. servers. See what have you done?

        Not only that, apparently they'd have the power to confiscate all the desktop and laptop computers of Slashdot editors' families as well if interpret this precedent correctly. To me, this is the most disturbing part of the entire thing. There is no way all of their computers are connected in any meaningful way to the site that this guy ran. Also, it's apparently enough to be related to an alleged copyright infringer in order for them to come and take your stuff away.

    • More like the Slashdot effect currently...
    • by asdf7890 (1518587)
      Please no. Do not use anything that reads their format, it will only encourage them. Any content you find in the format can be found elsewhere in other formats. Make sure any outlet that puts out stuff in their format that you are getting stuff elsewhere instead. Let the format and what is left of their business model die the death it so richly deserves.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 26, 2011 @02:56AM (#37216202)

    I would answer each legal document starting with 20 or 50 pages blank with a "buffering" in the middle.... and throw some in the middle too.

    I'd paste random ads over the documents which make utterly impossible to see what is written while I'm at it.

  • Surely this is a prime case of closing the stable door after the horse has bolted? The point in RealAlternative is to be able to play back media encoded using RealNetworks' formats, without having to install RealPlayer. I haven't seen anything encoded in those formats for several years, meaning I've had no use for either RealPlayer or RealAlternative. Does *anyone* still use either?
  • I don't get, how is DNS involved in this?

    However, Edskes wasn’t hosting the software, but just redirected to other sites for the actual download. The complaint turned out to be based on a hyperlink to the software.

    so far so good: he linked to some software, one can argue if this is illegal - but anyway.

    RealNetworks claims Edskes failed to remove the link to the software, and the reference in the DNS directories existed after February 12, 2010. However, the hosting provider checked backups and confirmed the removal of the link.

    WTF? either the complaint is based on hyperlinks or DNS redirects (did he use different subdomains for the codec packs?). it shouldn't be too hard to write one stringent and logical artical about this case.

  • I'm not sure if Slashdot is doing a Google and providing context relevant quotes or it was just pure chance, but the quote at the bottem of my page today sure seems relevant to this story and the state of Real networks - " For certain people, after fifty, litigation takes the place of sex. -- Gore Vidal"

  • by Frans Faase (648933) on Friday August 26, 2011 @03:46AM (#37216440) Homepage
    I am considering removing all hyperlinks from my private website and possibly replace them with a link to a Google search that might return the page. Can't risk your life being destroyed nowadays by a stupid hyperlink.
  • ... is that Real still exists as a company.

    How is that even possible?! I thought we'd seen the last of them years ago; not even the most pathetic company trying to make a web presence seems to think them relevant enough to use.

    Oh right, I guess that's why they've switched into lawsuit mode - it's easier than innovating.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 26, 2011 @04:28AM (#37216624)

    The article title is a bit disingenuous. RealAlternative is NOT freeware. It is simply Real's codecs, repackaged without the adware crap and player software. Now on the scale of copyright infringement this is pretty insignificant, but the codecs are still Real's property and it is their prerogative to decide the terms under which the software is distributed. I'm pretty sure the terms forbid repackaging and redistribution of the codecs.

    On the other hand, it's also incredulous that linking is deemed illegal. That's just bullshit. They should go after whoever distributed the repackaged codecs, not people who link to said site.

    Actually, I'm not sure RealAlternative is even needed anymore. VLC/ffdshow/ffmpeg support all the RealVideo codecs, and also RealAudio with the single exception of the SIPR codec.

  • Well-known websites like chip.de [www.chip.de] still link to and actually host Real Alternative 2.0.2 files, even Wikipedia has a link. â66.000 seem to indicate that the man has a terrible lawyer and/or corrupt judge...
  • by pete.discussit (2273138) on Friday August 26, 2011 @04:33AM (#37216650)
    comment buffering...
  • http://filehippo.com/software/multimedia/ [filehippo.com]

    Real Alternative, Quicktime alternative, K-Lite Codec Pack, you name it.

  • Wait, they're still alive? How come?

    Now the problem is: this kind of thing calls for a boycott, but, um... what one could possibly boycott that RealNetwork makes or offers that one would otherwise want or even have to use?

  • After the way the Dutch handled Apple's case against Samsung, I am not surprised at the way they're treating this guy. Dutch legal system sucking US legal cock much?

  • Google Translate reports "verhuur-zoekend-gedrag" as Dutch for "rent-seeking behavior".

  • if you have problems with deep-linking to downloads on you web page, a simple script can solve it. Not using this method is kind of agreeing to deep-linking.

    On the other hand, its not good style to do it like this.

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