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RealNetworks Sues Streambox.com 181

Posted by Hemos
from the fun-with-the-courts dept.
Line Noise writes "According to an article on TheStandard, RealNetworks is accusing Streambox of violating the Digital Millenium Copyright Act with its Streambox Ripper and Streambox VCR. These products allow you to download and convert a RealAudio file into a MP3 or WAV, bypassing RealNetworks protection against piracy. "
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RealNetworks Sues Streambox.com

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  • by Zippy the Pinhead (3531) on Friday December 24, 1999 @11:45AM (#1446573)

    I'm a longtime user of StreamBox [streambox.com]/2Bsys [2bsys.com] products, and a beta tester for the newest version of StreamVCR.

    StreamBox VCR, formerly called X-FileGet, downloads Real content using the proprietary PNM and PNM/G2 protocols, as well as the publicly-available RTSP and Windows Media protocols. It uses no Real code. StreamBox is not the only company to do this. Windows Media Player handles RealAudio streams and files, and Oracle is apparently reverse-engineering Real protocols and formats [pbs.org] so they can take advantage of Real's installed base for THEIR media server.

    StreamBox Ripper, formerly RA2Wav, uses Real DLLs to read RealAudio files, just like a couple WinAmp plugins and (I believe) Windows Media Player. It allows you to write the output to WAV, WMA or MP3, just as if you were using TotalRecorder or Virtual Audio Cable with RealPlayer.

    It's not clear what legal ground Real has to stand on. The legality of "space-shifting" and "time-shifting" licensed content has been defended in court and AFAIK, the programmer didn't disassemble any Real code.

    However, it looks like Real is approaching this as a format-control issue, arguing that somehow, software that converts their format to another is illegal. It looks like a questionable lawsuit against a company that can't afford lawyers, meant to set a precedent before Real goes up against Microsoft or Oracle.

  • Streambox Ripper

    Converts MP3, RealAudio G2, and CD to WMA
    Files

    Streambox Ripper allows users to batch convert
    their digital music collections into the WMA
    (Windows Media Audio) format, as well as providing
    several other file format conversion paths. It has the
    ability to rip both WMA and MP3 files direct from
    CDs, as well as convert multiple RealAudio files to
    WMA or MP3 format in a single batch process.

    The product supports multiple conversion paths for
    audio files; including MP3 to WMA, RealAudio to
    WMA, RealAudio (G2) to MP3, and CD Audio to
    WMA or MP3. Additional CD Audio features of the
    product include a 10 band graphic equalizer, a track
    information window, and CDDB support.

    Streambox Ripper is currently in beta, a fully
    functional two-week trial version is available from the
    Streambox.com Web site. Following the trial period,
    users are required to pay the shareware registration
    fee of $34.95.

    product submission by IPW Staff

    p.s. I've tried various sites to download and all seem to point to the disabled one at Streambox.com
  • Not far enough. Ban pencils and notepads lest the evil information pirates write the secret knowledge down. But they might spread the information by word of mouth so let's rip their tongues out too. And cut off their hands just to be sure.

    Consciousness is not what it thinks it is
    Thought exists only as an abstraction
  • The DMCA tech protection provisions are a nightmare that should not have passed. Whatever defenses exists to justify the "balancing of the interests" between the creators, on one hand and those who use and develop from the creations, on the other -- the Congress made no effort to consider them in passing this handout to the IP holders of the world.

    It is my hope that the Courts will use cases such as this to shut down he scope of DMCA. In the meanwhile, I (who is widely known in this community to be pro-strong-IP minded in general) find DMCA's provisions in this regard to be an abomination.
  • Congratulations, braniac! that was the whole point. Maybe if you got out more the sarcasm wouldn't fly over your head.

    --
    --
  • There are new technologies in the pipeline to be released very soon, which will allow content providers to control access to their media to a much greater degree than is currently possible. I'm not just talking about the RIAA's MP3 replacement, but all downloadable digital media. What they do is to wrap the content up in an encrypted packet with a programmatic key which allows you to open it only once for each time you pay.

    That's logically impossible unless you also incorporate cryptographically secure and sealed hardware. Otherwise, the encrypted content and the media stream can always be replayed.

    Furthermore, you can, of course, always capture a copy at the device output, always in analog, and often even in digital format.

    Claims like the one you make worry me because legislators may say that "well, if that is technically possible, anything that tries to circumvent it must be devious and should be made illegal".

    Let's repeat this again: copyright enforcement via technology is intrinsically impossible. The most technology can contribute is means for detecting infringement when infringing works are redistributed to a public audience. And, actually, I think that's good enough, because it closely reflects the traditional dividing line between fair use (private copies) and infringing use (public distribution).

  • It's pretty clear that the ability to convert and save RealAudio files has substantial non-copyright infringing uses (in particular, a lot of the content streamed with RealAudio may be copied freely). I believe that means that the DMCA grudgingly allows that kind of technology (but I might be wrong).

    More generally, I find RealNetworks has gone bad. The biggies are:

    • Real promised to open up their protocols when they started out; instead, they have become more secretive and proprietary.
    • Real has secretly transmitted information from user's hard disks to their servers.
    • Real is trying to prevent content authored in their format to be converted to other formats.
    I don't think I need another reason to remove Real software from my systems (in fact, I already have). MP3 satisfies many streaming needs, and if we really need to do better on the low bandwidth streaming side, there are a number of open protocols and encodings available.
  • In any corporation (even so-called 'employee owned' corporations) 90% or more of the people associated with it have no say in what is done, especially in legal matters. The execs, the corporate counsel, and the legal department call the shots.

    Remember, the rank and file engineers at companies like M$, Real, Apple, et. al. are for the most part just geeks like me and you...

    The laws of this country make behavior that seems wrong, unfair, or bullyish almost mandatory. Patents, trademarks, and copyrights that go undefended are subsequently weakened. In addition, as we all know here at SlashDot, patents are granted with almost no thought, leaving it up to the courts to figure out which are valid and which are ludicrous. Which of course is biased towards big companies with lots of cash that can afford to pay lawyers to defend them. (oh, and predators whose main business is the licensing of intellectual property; i.e. patent everything in sight and then try to extort money out of people)

    The laws are set up so that litigation is maximized (hmmm, what profession do almost all lawmakers come from?)
  • Money talks :|
  • Get a life!
  • Anyone know of a tool which I can use to snag
    files via PNM and/or convert my realmedia files
    to mpeg movies/audio on Linux?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    In a suit filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Seattle, RealNetworks accuses Tape Deck Inc. of violating the Digital Millennium Copyright Act with its "Special Audio Cable connector" and "DAC Technology", products designed to decode audio and video files intended only to be heard or viewed by users of RealNetworks' RealPlayer.

    Etc... Silly stuff.
  • It seems to me like its just another attempt to crush innovation.

    The way it looks is someone in Real Media decided that they should keep their format theirs, and anybody that might want to do something useful or helpful to the public with it is obviously wrong in their thinking. After all its not about the people and the product, but rather the product and the profits.

    This seems very reminiscent of the Netscape/AOL/DOJ vs. Microsoft case. And if history can be used as a guide, then the company that is trying to innovate, and provide people with a better way of doing something is going to loose. Of course were not dealing with a monopoly here, but the underlaying principle is the same. Good ideas getting stomped on by someone else.

    Its funny how companies can use the law/government to do their dirty work instead of coming up with the idea in the first place....
  • snaggin the audio while its playing and converting is relatively easy. look at: http://freshmeat.net/appindex/1999/05/05/925879315 .html
    Same for windows with the virtual audio cable. Once snagged it can be converted to anything.
  • Kindly explain, sir, how copying a publicly available data stream and storing it for later viewing, in any form, differs from recording a television program on your VCR.
  • I agree with you that the artists should get paid for thier work. What I'm saying is that once it goes on the computer, want it or not, someone will figure out a way to break it. Also, you are forgetting the fact that of the say 15$ you pay for a CD, about 10-12$ goes to the record company and 2$ or so to the distributer, which means that the artist doesn't see much of the cash anyways. I do buy CDs, and if they didn't cost so much (the price of a blank disk when bought in bulk is negligable, and the entire burning proccess including the purchase of the disk costs less then .5$). The total cost of production (studio, burning, promotion, etc.) is about 5-8$, which means that while the artist sees only about 1-2$ per CD, the record company makes a net profit of about 5$ per CD. And that is what they are trying to protect, not the artist.
    A wise man once said that peace is a dream. Let's all be dreamers.
  • Shitheads like you pale in comparison to the First Posters and trolls. At least their funny.

    Don't you mean "At least they're funny"?

    *ducking*

  • ...if you can get to WAV you can easily get to MP3, why even mention it?

    If you can get to WAV then you can easily get to MP3? Depends. Consider:

    1. WAV is only a wrapper format. There are a few de facto "standard" WAV data types, such as the ubiquitous PCM, but there nevertheless is no such thing as a "standard WAV format". Many WAVs are encoded using a Microsoft ACM (audio compression manager) codec, and in order to decode that WAV at all, you would need to have at least the decoder portion of the codec installed on your system.

      For example, it is theoretically possible to create a WAV which is actually an ACM-encapsulated RA file. Now how would you decode that WAV? Only with an RA codec!

    2. Creating an MP3 requires an MP3 encoder. An MP3 encoder is not a trivial thing to write! When software is advertised as being able to create MP3 files (in addition to WAV or whatever else), it is implicit that the software contains a built-in MP3 encoder, eliminating the need for third-party (and possibly expensive) MP3 encoder.
    In summary: In order to "get to MP3" from WAV, you would need both (a) the appropriate codec to decode the WAV in question; and (b) an MP3 encoder.
  • it converts to MP3, WAV or WMA (windows media shit) from realaudio. The download link is down with a (http://www.streambox.com/Products/products.asp) legal notice..anyone got a mirror ?


  • What I find interesting is that you can get a LOT more progamming information on the format Microsoft uses for their streaming video system (the .ASF/.ASX formats are well-documented) than you can get for Real Networks' .ram/.rm file formats.

    In fact, I would totally not be surprised at all if Microsoft would more than happy to help Linux programmers create a streaming video player for Windows Media .ASF/.ASX formats just to send Real Networks for a loop. Given the fact that Yahoo's Broadcast.com plans to switch to Windows Media format full-time, this could be bad news for Real Networks because RealPlayer is frequently used to listen to Broadcast.com streaming audio.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Sale of "Digital Millenium Copyright Act" toilet paper, or any other unlicensed Digital Millenium Copyright Act product, is a clear violation of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act.
  • Everyone knows that
  • Copyrights don't need to exist anymore. I say, to hell with copyrights and liscences! Just public domain things like they used ot be before the copyright laws came to be! Freely inovaste, but live in constant fear of having oyuir wotk stoledn! whoops. that doesn't work. well, RA files quality sucks. It's not the millenium until 2001(well, it was really in 96, 97, or 98 cause they were off by a few years. Unless you use the common era calender).
  • I remember reading about the MP3 file format in Wired a couple of years ago when the record industry first clamped down on a few college kids exchanging songs. I'd never heard of it, and now I imagine people in similar situations have each collected a few GB of MP3 files.

    Later, I'd never heard of Napster. The RIAA sabre rattled about suing. Tried it out. Discovered the protocol has been reverse engineered, there's a Linux client, and if the lights went out at Napster, independent servers with similar function would spring up.

    Before today, I'd never heard of Streambox ripper. Real sues. Slashdot picks up the story. Grab it from a mirror. Resolve to continue to not buy any Real Networks products, as if the TRUST-E warning label fiasco wasn't enough. Happily grabbing streaming audio at will.

    You'd think they'd learn.
  • Especially if they think that there's some hot market in converting the nasty RealAudio lossy sound to MP3. (Ever encode a JPEG into a JPEG two times in a row?) Hardly 'piracy', especially since I've got to have the file locally to convert it. What's the difference between playing it to death in their own player, or playing it in WinAmp or whatnot?

    Unless, of course, there's something they're hiding about their player, where it's important we play our streams in it...

    And why assume that "copywritten" material will be converted? Just recently I used the program in question to convert a copy of the War of the Worlds radio broadcast for a friend.

    I'm sick to goddamn death of people pulling shit like this all the time now. I'll refrain from 'expressing' myself more on this, lest I spew more anger. >:P
  • Hi,

    You say "Companies need to have a format for distributing copyrighted material. How many musicians would there be if there was no way for them to make money off it??"

    To which I say, first off, that there is a simple answer to your question: all formats allow distribution of copyrighted materials. But I suppose you mean "heavily armed format".
    That makes me wonder where you have been the last couple of years. I don't think you've been reading Slashdot, since you don't seem to know that ReadHat is making a lot of money with unprotected material. The same can work for music: as long as the price you pay for convenience of allways having the newest version of songs, and of knowing that you are a good person because you support the author (and getting a trouble free, supported compilation instead of a possible virus-full, trojaned version), as long as what you get for the price outways the cheapness of getting a possibly outdated copy from your neighbour, then people will pay for it.

    EjB
  • 1. You can use real player plus to save real files.
    2. You can sniff packets and construct a real audio/video file.
    3. Doesn't this lead straight back to the problem with dvd encoding, it has to be decoded somewhere?

    Morons.. I swear....

    ---

  • Yeah, I actually thought so too. The poster should've waited for a more appropriate discussion, though - "Saving /." topic comes up pretty regularly :) Well, I hope he will re-post it at due time and it will get moderated up rather than into the ground :)
  • I'm trying to remember the quote, but can't; it's about censorship, the 'net, sensing as damage and routing around it.

    At any rate, I've now got a copy of a tool I've wanted for awhile, and I didn't know it existed until the lawsuit.

    Hmmm... horse, barn door... my middle-aged memory just doesn't serve me well any more!!
  • RealNetworks has for quite a while been offering their own software that enables you to download and store .rm files on your computer. I think that they are just sore because someone else is making it so that people don't have to spend $50? $100? on their product in order to do that. .rm has always been storeable. take a look in your Temp folder some time after you play a .rm...they're sitting right there, ready to be copied to somewhere else on your computer and kept. I just never liked RealPlayer because most .rm files are poor quality.

    I hope that RealNetworks does not win their lawsuit. I would compare it to a judge favoring M$ in a lawsuit against the makers of wine or some other windoze emulator.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 24, 1999 @12:56PM (#1446635)
    A friend of mine found this related util that masquerades as a Windows sound driver so various non-saveable formats can be put as WAVs on your HD. NT only, but at least they have source code:

    http://www.geocities.com/SiliconValley/Program/355 5/

    Or, for click-friendliness: Wave to Disk [geocities.com]

    - The Archon

  • I believe you can use X-FileGet under Wine, though I'm not sure..

    I know that Ra2Wav works fine under Wine though, as long as you install RealPlayer G2 first. Try this directory containing XFileGet, RA2wav, etc. [xoom.com]

    --
    WorldServe Consulting [worldserve.net]

  • Oh, okay.

    That's a UDP protocol that defaults to a low-numbered port, right? Any good instructions out there for properly opening a firewall and a NAT subnet to deal with it? Couldn't find any on Apple's site, and didn't feel like wasting so much time on a protocol so rarely used.
  • its way too obvious they are not suing them
    for "privacy" ?!

    what the hell does real know about privacy ?

    they are the ones who love violating and abusing
    your right to privacy which have ccare nothing about.

    they are being sued for coming up with better software and showing people how it is better.
  • It's not just music, but also video, text, graphics, executable code, the whole multimedia thing. Anything digital. It won't always be feasible or practical to rip it off unless you can break the encryption.

    Consciousness is not what it thinks it is
    Thought exists only as an abstraction
  • That's logically impossible unless you also incorporate cryptographically secure and sealed hardware. Otherwise, the encrypted content and the media stream can always be replayed.

    Furthermore, you can, of course, always capture a copy at the device output, always in analog, and often even in digital format.


    One of the companies developing this technology is a subsidiary of a huge corporation with almost unlimited financial resources, and they are already working on stuff for one of the biggest media companies in the world. I found out about it at a job interview with the company concerned and I had to sign an NDA so I can't say any more.

    I think what you are suggesting is not that you can't implement pay-per-play, but that no software-only encryption is uncrackable. I guess that's true, but it's beyond most people if the encryption is good enough.

    With regard to capturing the content at the output end, this might work for audio or graphics but I can't see how it would work with multimedia. Anyway, capturing digital music in a relatively low-fidelity analogue recording or capturing text as a series of graphic images is probably of no real concern to them, we could always do that even before the computers and the internet. What they are guarding against is control of the digital representation.

    Consciousness is not what it thinks it is
    Thought exists only as an abstraction
  • It's been fun knowing you, Real. It's too bad, really. It's going to suck not having a self-adjusting streaming protocol playable on non-Microsoft operating systems. Streaming MP3 over HTTP doesn't really do it for me, and I don't suspect we'll be seeing Windows Media playback for *nix, MacOS, PalmOS, the Playstation 2, etc. anytime soon.

    After not working to protect their file formats, and letting Microsoft write clients to play back their encodings, this isn't going to make it.

    Anyway, doesn't every playback scheme that directs a raw audio stream to a soundcard do a "file conversion" to some PCM format already? Isn't Streambox's only "sin" that they allow the converted file to be saved?

    Note to Rob Glaser: maybe after you sell the burned-out husk of the company to AOL or Sun in a year or so, you can go back to work for Microsoft.

  • I'm going to sue these folks [bockmon.com] next. I mean, just look at them. They provide a service for converting word processing files between formats. Without regard for the copyrights held on the content of those files. What fiends!

    I figure that'll be a much easier suit to win than trying to sue every person who ever listens to a realaudio file, since he is obviously involved in an international conspiracy to convert digital audio files on his computer to an analog format (his thoughts) suitable for unlimited future playback (his memory). Never a clearer case of crimethink can be imagined.
  • The above post needs serious upward moderation.

    One of the stupidest ideas, IMO, is that companies think they should be able to charge me over and over for the same content. If I go to a movie and some idiot talks or laughs during a critical part of the dialog, I'm expected to fork over another $7 to hear what I missed. On the other hand, if I buy the tape then magically I can watch it as often as I want.

    Of course, this is only because the technology doesn't allow them to charge me each time I see that tape...but we are heading that way. Divx was a prime example. Streaming media is another. We are moving into new Dark Age; a period when any time we see or hear anything educational or entertaining, it will cost us. Someday when mental interfaces have been perfected, we will probably be charged just for remembering part of a concert or movie that previously experienced. [/cynical]

    I say fight. This program is my new favorite tool to take back my rights as a consumer. "If I can hear it, I can record it" as the saying goes. The idea behind this program is a perfect exmaple of that. RIAA is going to have to convince me to install some new hardware in my machine if they want to be able to stop me.

    And that just ain't gonna happen...

    - JoeShmoe

    -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= -=-=-=-=-=-=-
  • by Anonymous Coward
    They can definitely stop you from getting the music:

    They just stop making it.

    Like any art, music requires practice. And the more you practice, the better you get. A lot of shit music is made by people who are able to make a living as full-time musicians, sure; but a lot more shit music is made by people who can't do it full-time, and so never have the time to get better. Time produces better art, and money produces time.

    Besides, getting music from a guitar player's brain to your ears requires quite a few intermediate steps. You need studio time, production, promotion (especially if you can no longer make money from selling the media, so you need to tour or sell hard goods like T-shirts)... even if the guitar player works for free, will the producer? Will the A&R guy, or his equivalent at mp3.com? Will the sysadmin who keeps mp3.com running?

    That's why I still buy CDs, and if my favorite artists come by town or have a new T-shirt to sell, I buy it. My few dollars mean another little chunk of time they're busy making more and better music, not flipping burgers so they don't get evicted.

  • I thought the Digital Milennium Copyright Act didn't go into effect until next year.



    But the new millennium doesn't start until 2001!

  • Don't need a tape recorder, just a audio cable and a full duplex sound card -- jumper cable between the audio in and out ports play the file and record the file...
  • RealNetworks has for quite a while been offering their own software that enables you to download and store .rm files on your computer.

    The utility of that feature is solely dependent on whether the content provider allowed for this capability at encoding time. There's a flag that can be set in RealEncoder to enable or disable the "record" feature. I think you can guess how most sites set this. :-(

    I had been using Real stuff to time-shift some talk-radio programs with my computer...an old (v3) RealEncoder and RealServer G2 Basic running on Linux to do real-time encoding and subsequent streaming across my home LAN to Win9x boxen running RealPlayer G2. I recently replaced RealEncoder with ecasound and NotLAME, and RealPlayer with Winamp...yes, I'm using MP3 now instead, though this happened before this whole Streambox thing popped up. The only weak spot is streaming...Icecast doesn't let listeners seek to particular tracks or to parts of a track like RealServer does, and RealServer won't stream MP3s (I've tried). Maybe I should just get Samba running and share the MP3 directories on the Linux box...it's not like I'm serving MP3s to the world (over 56k dial-up? Yeah, right...).

    On a more related note: a link to Streambox Ripper was posted further upstream, but Streambox VCR sounds like it'd be a more useful program. I've checked AltaVista and Google and have come up empty. Is Streambox VCR mirrored anywhere? Downloading high-bandwidth streaming-media files over a low-bandwidth connection for later listening/viewing would be nice.

  • US spelling is Millennium, but the Brits use the word with an 'l' or 'n' dropped.

    They do not. The Oxford English Dictionary has an entry for "millennium", but not for "millenium". The etymology says that this word derives from the Latin word "millennium". Chambers English Dictionary (an English dictionary) and Websters New Twentieth Century (an American dictionary) agree. So there is only one accepted spelling, and that is "millennium", regardless of whether you are writing in English, American or Latin.

    And "British" is spelled with only one "t".

    If you're going to make pedantic posts picking nits in other people's spelling, at least consult a dictionary first.

  • The passage:

    bypassing RealNetworks protection against piracy.

    Should have read:

    bypassing RealNetworks protection against
    privacy.

    ;-)

  • No one in their right mind would release a valuable copyrighted media for real player and expect that no one would be able to copy it. I would surmise that most people who only release things in ra format probably don't know the benefits of other formats. Real Networks is just trying to keep their format closed.
  • [Here is a letter to the editor I wrote to respond to the original article.]

    Dear Mr. Learmonth and Editor of the Standard:

    I read your article concerning the law suit that RealNetworks has filed
    against Streambox
    (http://www.thestandard.com/article/display/0,11 51,8448,00.html) . I do
    believe that Streambox has every right to reverse engineer the format, and I
    think that RealNetworks is ethical wrong in their law-suit.

    However, your article seems to imply that Streambox is somehow an "underdog"
    in this scenario, and is attempting to "open up" the RealAudio formats.
    However, in reality, having access to the RealAudio formats through
    Streambox does not make the RealAudio format any more free, because
    Streambox's software is not free software. Since all software to make such
    conversions is proprietary software, there is little freedom for users. Of
    course, once the audio file is converted to a free format (perhaps as .WAV
    files), once can play that audio file with free software. However, the
    RealAudio format will never truly be open until there is free software to
    decode it.

    Note, too, that if free software could decode the RealAudio format, the
    public would know the internal workings of the format. This would give to
    the community ownership of the format, and the format would be open. Since
    Streambox is not actually opening the format for the community, they cannot
    make any argument that they are helping the community of users. The legal
    issues would be much more interesting and much more helpful to the community
    if Streambox released were a free software product to decode RealAudio. In
    this manner, we might be able to legally call into question the practice of
    making proprietary formats. I would encourage you at The Standard to push
    forward the idea of making proprietary formats free, perhaps by encouraging
    Streambox to release their software as free software.

    Finally, in your article, you refer to MP3 as an "open-source" format. This
    is, in fact, not the case. Due to patents held on the MP3 format, it is in
    fact *not* free, since you need an explicit license to encode into MP3
    format, and it is not even 100% clear that you can decode the format
    freely. I would appreciate it if you would print a retraction of calling
    MP3 an "open-source" format.

    If you are at all confused by what I mean by free software, you can read the
    definition at: http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/free-sw.html


    Thank you for considering my opinion.

    Sincerely,

    Bradley M. Kuhn
  • If I could invent a keyboard/mouse that sends electric shocks to the brain, I'd be rich. Just think of the applications:
    • Annoying twits on chat sites: "Hey, baby..." *bzaaap!* "Ouch!"
    • Streaming audio: make your customers forget that song after 20 minutes passes!
    • Medicinal purposes: ECT for the masses!



  • Has this wonderful program being ported to other OS platforms, such as Linux, DOS, MacOS, or BeOS?

    If that has already happened, would someone kindly give me a pointer as to where they are, please?

    Thanks in advance.

    Please CC. me at vigorous@iname.com
  • My whole point is that you don't have to "crack" anything in order to get the bitstream. Any PC emulator can be easily hacked up to replay any encrypted audio or multimedia stream as often as you like; users don't need any special expertise for that, and it doesn't require any work specific to the particular content stream.

    Replaying executions, emulation, etc. are all essential parts of computer science and software development. Nonsensical claims that encryption somehow makes content technically secure and un-replayable are really just attempts to get the legal system to define as "cracking" activities and tools that are vital to computer science. And that should concern us.

  • It seems to me like its just another attempt to crush innovation.

    Since when is copying work done by other people equal to innovation! All Streambox does is let you make copies of media developed by other people using a protocol orginally developed by another company.

    This seems very reminiscent of the Netscape/AOL/DOJ vs. Microsoft case.

    Loud sound of vomiting. The DOJ/Microsoft case was brought because Microsoft was abusing it's monopoly power to crush competitors like Netscape, who from what I remember had a browser on the market well before Microsoft did.

    Microsoft is a corrupt monopolistic corporate vulture that has STIFLED innovation in the software industry for the last decade. They are famous for their 'embrace and extend' which is their way of saying ripoff and make incompatable with open standards.



  • by seaportcasino (121045) on Friday December 24, 1999 @01:43PM (#1446677) Homepage
    Due to a recent, temporary restraining order (TRO) by US District Court in Seattle, Streambox Ripper, VCR and Ferret are no longer available for download. In view of the serious impact of the TRO with respect to Streambox's business, the Court also ordered that Real Networks post a $1 million dollar bond to cover any loss to Streambox if the Court later finds that the TRO was wrongfully issued. Read press release. We regret any inconvenience this may cause you. However, you may still download an altered version of Streambox Ripper (without RealAudio decoding) that supports MP3s, CDs and Windows Media files. Thanks for your understanding, and be sure to check back often in the coming days for updates on the lawsuit, as well as other products. Happy Holidays from the entire Streambox team!

    Got this off of the Streambox web site. RealNetworks is really getting to be a little baby Microsoft it seems. Can you imagine if Microsoft ever breaks up? Can you imagine 10-20 of these little companies like RealNetworks trying to crush or at least sue every competetor to death. It makes me think that maybe keeping Microsoft together as one big but slow-moving beast wouldn't be such a bad idea.

  • No, we're really that atheistic.
  • I'd love a file location for that if anyone can help out, and also maybe one for the other program they took down "ferret" i believe? thanks...
  • Does anyone have a URL to an older copy of the software - their stuff on their site can no longer decode Real Audio Stuff

    Many thanks,

    Ross
  • by kaphka (50736) <1nv7b001@sneakemail.com> on Friday December 24, 1999 @02:06PM (#1446681)
    Don't let the title of the "Digital Millenium Copyright Act" fool you. It's not the same as traditional copyright law... if it was, then there'd be no need for a new law, of course.

    According to established copyright rules, Real has no basis whatsoever for preventing folks from decoding, translating, or recording their streams. (In particular, they have no standing, because they generally don't own the copyrights on the data itself!)

    The DMCA is a whole different ballgame. Basically, it makes it illegal to intentionally circumvent copy-protection mechanisms. If data is encoded transparently, and you just translate it into a different code, that's fine. But if it's encrypted, and by that I mean deliberately encoded in such as way as to make it difficult to decode it, then it's covered by the DMCA.

    So let's assume that RealMedia is an extremely hairy file format. If it's extremely hairy because Real uses lousy programmers, then Streambox is fine. If, on the other hand, it's extremely hairy because Real doesn't want anyone else to be able to decode it, then Streambox is breaking the law.

    I think it's clear that it's the latter, and Streambox is in trouble. But that's just an indication of how fundamentally wrong the whole idea of the DMCA is. It's nothing more than a tool for shoring up monopolies.

    Makes you wonder why the government is going after Bill Gates like he's the antichrist, but handing more power to his competitors. (Could it have something to do with Microsoft's refusal to participate in the our system of government-by-lobbyist?)

    (IA, of course, NAL.)
  • "The Net treats censorship as damage and routes around it." - John Gilmore
  • by Anonymous Coward

    If I'm not mistaken, the DMCA allows for the breaking of a protection code if it is for the purposes of interoperability.

    Streambox may indeed win, but not without a lengthy legal battle. RealNetworks is a pretty rich company. I don't know how much Streambox has in the bank, but even if RealNetworks loses, they would still hope to cripple Streambox with legal fees.

    You also need to remember that "conservative" copyright laws and rights (those against copying) seem to supersede "liberal" copyright laws and rights (those in favour of allowing copying and freedom) in the U.S.

    Consider this: if the identities and locations of those responsible for the DVD crack were known, Hollywood and the DVD player manufacturers would probably stop at nothing to sue the pants off them. Sure, the DVD crackers could say, "This was done for interoperability, to allow the DVDs to be played from Linux." But here we have a "liberal" IP issue -- the exception in the digital millennium copyright act (DMCA) that allows breaking copy protection for interoperability -- going up against a "conservative" IP issue -- "contributory infringement" and DMCA's "no breaking copy protection" rule. You could argue interoperability, but the "conservative" side -- the movie industry -- would still win.

    Why? Possibly because, as another poster put it, "money talks." It could also be due to the current air of economic protectionism sweeping the United States at the moment.

    If RealNetworks loses, that would make the movie studios and record comapnies nervous. How can we put our content online without worrying someone will create a cracking tool and argue interoperability? Of course, in many cases, the creators of such tools are anonymous or so obscure, they are never found, and their tools circulate the Internet anyway. "Outlaw copy protection breakers, and only outlaws will have copy protection breakers." And as we all know, the studios and record companies scarcely sustain any damage from this, anyway.

    But if RealNetworks wins, the record companies and movie studios will feel strong. They will think they'll do well. People will invest money in them. The U.S. economy will continue to grow! The U.S. government is currently passing laws to protect e-commerce, to ensure its widespread acceptance by the public, and to assist big business in taking over the Net. Are there any Mac users reading? Notice how Sherlock2 touts itself as "...your online shopper..." Did the original Sherlock say that? I didn't see much of the "old Net," and that which I did see, I can scarcely remember... (Sigh...)

    Anyway, I'd hate to sound defeatist, but this appears to be the natural order of things these days. Isn't there another story on Slashdot right know about IP lawyers and how they think? IP lawyers must be in big demand right now.

    So, to summarize: RealNetworks will probably win, because (1) since the DMCA can be used in their favour, it will; (2) they're on the side of the RIAA and movie studios; (3) they're big business-friendly; (4) they are (apparently) helping the American economy.

    ...But I still hope that Streambox will win instead.

  • I don't think it is the fact of storing or copying the files that Real objects to. It is the transfer into another file format. Real bases its business on providing content in their file format. If said content can easily be converted to another format (like MP3) then they lose a competitive advantage in their eyes.

    They sign contracts to have content available in their format. The fact that WIMP can play it back may be bad, but if the content provider goes to WIMP format then they lose money on both the format and playback. To a businessman it is intolerable that somebody could take their content, convert it to another format, and listen to it using a competitor's product. If such practice happened often enough they'd be out of business in the medium to long term. Since this is Real's only business they call the lawyers.

    Microsoft will probably do the same if somebody converts their format to MP3 and it threatens to gain popular appeal.

    I think Real will still lose. Although why such a crappy product succeeded in the first place is beyond me.
  • When will everyone realise that if audio can be played, it can be recorded - and recorded to anything, be it WAV or MP3 or WMA or frickin' cassette tapes. Audio out to audio in, hit record, hit play.

    Now is RealNetworks going to sue me because I'm defeating their copy protection? Give me a break. I've had a thing against Real since I was forced (!) to upgrade to the latest RealPlayer, which proceeded to try and hijack every single audio and video file extension present in the known universe and claim it as it's own. I was even 'strongly discouraged' (from the installation wizard) from unbinding these extensions. That sort of thing annoys me to no end.

    Levine
  • anyone see the image next to Streambox VCR on the former download page? X-FileGet, which downloaded RealMedia from streaming servers, and Ra2Wav (probably Streambox Ripper now) used to be made by 2B Systems (www.2bsys.com). And it looks like www.2bsys.com goes to streambox.com . Hmm.. name change, or buy out? Dunno. But I've still got those apps laying around on my weendoze partition.
    Btw, Anyone know of any linux app that will suck files from a Real streaming server? it'd be nice...
  • That was kind of an interestuing post, and surprisingly well written, too. But why do you care so very, very much about how your posts are rated? Aren't you the least bit interested in expressing your opinions on the topic at hand instead? I thought that was the whole idea of posting to a free public board such as slashdot.

    This is kind of like those musicians who are way more interested in whether their music is a big hit on the charts, rather than how good it is as music. Except their attitude, lame though it is, makes more sense than yours. After all, no matter how good or bad a hit song may be as music, one thing is for sure, any hit song will generate a lot of money, which translates immediately into exotic cars, loose women, and powerful recreational drugs. All my musician friends agree that these are inherently desirable goods, worthy to be pursued vigorously. But on the other hand, /. pays exactly the same for a post with a rating of five as it does for a post with a rating of minus-one: nothing. So, once again, why do you care?

    Yours WDK - WKiernan@concentric.net

  • by Anonymous Coward
    It did the same thing to MS's windows media player, namely letting you "save" streamed media. See this link here [cnet.com].
  • by CoughDropAddict (40792) on Friday December 24, 1999 @05:11PM (#1446693) Homepage
    Once again we can observe the harms of allowing the government to regulate the computer industry.

    The majority of the powerful people in the government are 50+, people who grew up in a time where there was no such thing as electronic data or electronic property. I realize that there are plenty of computer savvy people older than 50, but the average layperson in that age group doesn't understand what is a completely different world when it comes to law and regulation.

    We saw this in the etoy vs. etoys debate: I'm betting that the judge who issued the court order against etoy doesn't understand the nature of the internet and of the situation: how else could such a crazy ruling be issued?

    Do we need to explain these situations in terms that non-techie people can more easily understand? Something to the effect of: "This is the equivalent of making someone change their phone number because someone intending to dial Big Business Corporation X could accidentally slip and dial the wrong number!"

    In the Microsoft vs. DOJ trial, it's lucky that the majority of the case pertained to business practices, and not more complicated technological issues.

    I suppose in many cases, the complicated technological issues can be reduced to higher level ideas by experts. Instead of "Installing certain Microsoft software can replace DLLs that mysteriously conflict with competing software," (I just made that scenario up), an expert could tell the judge "It seems that Microsoft is intentionally and underhandedly stifling the competition." However, there's still a lot more to the situation, and over-simplifying the situation can often lead to uninformed decisions. Also, this gives the interpretations of experts the brunt of the weight in the case, and as we all know, experts can be made to say almost anything.

    As we've seen on /. recently, this problem is a massive epidemic in the US Patent Office. Are all these crazy patents perhaps a result of Patent Inspectors not really understanding what's being patented? If someone tried to patent the idea of swiping a credit card, they'd just get a funny look. "One-click shopping" seems just as obvious to people familiar with the internet, but it's granted a patent by people who don't understand what they're doing.

    The companies must use this to their advantage. I'm sure the developers at amazon realize how obvious the idea of "one-click shopping" is, I doubt they approached their legal department and exclaimed "This new idea is amazing--we need a patent!" The business lobbyists must also take advantage of the fact that the legislation they're trying to get pushed through Congress will get described to the Congresspeople in general terms ("This bill will protect the rights of musicians in a constantly changing time"), but whose specific implications aren't really understood.

    I don't know about you, but I don't appreciate having the beautiful freedom of the internet and technology regulated by a bunch of people who obviously don't know what they're talking about.
  • I thought the Digital Milennium Copyright Act didn't go into effect until next year.

    (The thing that I find intensely curious is that anti-spam legislation has been stalled left and right, but utter garbage like the DMCA flies through like greased lightning. sigh)

    Schwab

  • Happy Holidays to all; The DMCA was, IMHO, designed to protect the Secure Digital Music Initiative (SDMI) of the RIAA. Basically, it makes it illegal to crack music encoded using the SDMI or other types of protection, such as digital watermarks. The SDMI, promised for Christmas '98, remains vapourware, but the law is there. The prohibition on cracking protected music starts October 28, 2000. However, starting Oct 28, 1998, the distribution of CODE that violates a "technological protection measure" is outlawed. (Yes, that's right - regardless of the merits of this case, /. people can USE these products legally at the present!) Futher, the DCMA only prohibits the cracking of access measures, not copy protection. The interoperability loophole is fairly narrow, and probably won't help Streambox much. However, the law seems clear (although I am not a lawyer) : The DMCA prohibits the sale of code that is PRIMARILY intended to circumvent protection against unauthorized access (or that is marketed as such). It does NOT prohibit measures to circumvent copy protection per se. It seems to me that Real has a tough road to hoe : 1.) They would have to show that their format is used to prevent unauthorized access AND 2.) They would have to show that Streambox is PRIMARILY intended to get around that prevention, or is marketed as such. Now, I am a MP3 man myself, but I am not aware of any such access limits in the REAL format. Can't anyone get software that plays this ? Can't you download the Real software itself for free ? And use it for free ? Then how can Real show # 1 ? Even if Real could show that you cannot copy the Real format (is this really true???), that doesn't seem to be enough - it's access protection that is limited. Even so, if Real proves # 1, given the wide range of uses of Streambox, and its similarity to other products, how can they show # 2 ? I just don't see how the Real suit has much merit, unless Streambox was VERY stupid in what they said in their advertising.
  • This is only going to get worse if we can't get these nasty laws to stop getting passed, and repeal the already existing bad ones. Unfortunately, I don't see that happening anytime soon.

    What's next? A ban on disseminating knowledge about the internals of the Real protocol? Oh, and while we're at it, we better make sure nobody knows how TCP/IP works, cause then they could use a packet sniffer to capture copyrighted data.

    Question for lawyers: If this nonsense stands, does that mean VCRs could also be made illegal? By the same rational, tv stations could sue Magnavox for enabling copyright infringers. Maybe it's just as well VCRs were invented when they were, so they could become established before the copyright Nazis took over.

  • by Zippy the Pinhead (3531) on Friday December 24, 1999 @11:20AM (#1446698)
    Seattle court issues temporary restraining order against Streambox To prevent sale and distribution of streaming technology products

    SEATTLE - Streambox, Inc. (http://www.streambox.com [streambox.com]), a leading provider of proprietary streaming technologies for searching, acquiring, playing and managing audio and video files on and from the Internet, must temporarily halt the development, production and sale of various company products, pending a full hearing January 7, due to a temporary restraining order issued here today, the company has announced.

    The restraining order was issued by the U.S. District Court in response to an action filed by RealNetworks (RNWK), which alleged that three products - Streambox Ripper, Streambox VCR and Streambox Ferret - have caused irreparable harm to RealNetworks.

    "Their main complaint is that our Streambox Ripper product allows content owners to control file format, not RealNetworks. . But we believe that the larger picture of Real's whole tactic is about preventing migration of digital media files from RealMedia to other platforms, such as Microsoft's Windows Media," said Robert Hildeman, chief executive officer of Streambox. "We think that's unfair to both consumers and content providers." In view of the serious impact of the restraining order with respect to Streambox's business, the court also ordered that Real Networks post a $1 million dollar bond to cover any loss to Streambox if the Court later finds that the restraining order was wrongfully issued.

    RealNetworks also alleged in the action that Streambox had violated the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and copyright infringement.

    "I don't understand why they are alleging this when our products and technologies truly benefit the content providers and consumers," Hildeman said.

    Hildeman said Streambox plans to release a version of its Streambox Ripper product that does not convert RealNetworks' media format. Streambox Ripper is a powerful utility that converts CD and other audio files to the popular MP3 format, allowing MP3 users to listen to millions of previously unavailable audio files, from music to audiobooks, talk radio, interviews and much more.

    With the recent explosion of digital music on the Internet, and with the proliferation of popular portable MP3 players like RCA's Lyra, Diamond's Rio, Creative's Nomad and others, Streambox Ripper stands to play a pivotal role in providing much more audio content than ever before imagined, Hildeman said.

    About Streambox:

    Streambox is the world leader in the searching, indexing and categorizing of streaming media content on the Internet. The company offers full services in Internet streaming technologies that deliver end-to-end solutions for the searching, playing, acquiring, converting and transporting of streaming audio and video files.

    Founded in 1999, Streambox provides Internet users with a powerful media portal, search engine and guide. The company extends its powerful technologies to a family of innovative audio and video software for PCs and other devices.

    The combined technologies enable the company's customers to enjoy the fastest-growing segment of the Internet - streaming entertainment and information.

    Contacts: Bob Hildeman, Streambox
    425-702-9348
    bob@streambox.com

    Bob Silver, The Silver Company
    206-624-0388
    bob@thesilvercompany.com

  • When will they realize that they will never be able to stop us from getting the music? it happend with csc, realaudio, and it will happend with others as well. once it goes on the computer, someone will eventually figure a way to crack it. They shouldn't sue them- if they hadn't done it, someone else would have.
    A wise man once said that peace is a dream. Let's all be dreamers.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Some enterprising individual out there needs to make "Digital Millenium Copyright Act" toilet paper. I say this, because that's about the amount of respect I have for this act. It also reflects my devotion to obey laws which only benefit a few wealthy individuals and that devotion is none.
  • by MattMann (102516) on Friday December 24, 1999 @11:22AM (#1446705)
    If the claim is that this software allows the circumvention of copyright restrictions on Real Networks encoded content, then the Ferret would seem to be akin to a photocopier: it allows copying, rather than engages in it. As long as users don't keep copies, where's the violation?

    What am I missing?

  • It's kind of interesting they called one of their products the StreamBox VCR - the software essentially has the function of a VCR or audio tape recorder - yet those things aren't illegal. I hope they see the similarity in court. It would be hypocritical to prevent this product from being on the market while allowing VCRs and tape recorders to be sold.

    It's also worth noting that both VCRs and tape recorders were originally hailed as a horrible thing for the TV and music industry, but it hasn't turned out that way...
    but if Amazon can patent one-click shopping, I'm sure RealNetworks could win this.
    -lx
  • Damn, that made me shoot soda out my nose but it was totally worth it.

    I wish I had moderator points right now...

  • It was Disney and Universal vs. Sony over the Betamax. It went to the Supreme Court, and the gist of the opinion was (IMO) a privacy issue. That Americans have the right to do what they wish in the privacy of their own home.

    This is why we have three branches in our government...so when the legislature is too beholden to special interests, and too dependent on getting re-elected, the appointed-for-life Justices will balance it out by canceling bad laws.

    Pretty damn smart, those Founding Fathers.

  • by ralphclark (11346) on Friday December 24, 1999 @02:35PM (#1446716) Journal
    the DMCA allows for the breaking of a protection code if it is for the purposes of interoperability. Since it's clear that transcoding RealAudio files to MP3 files would enable the song to be played in new environments (e.g., on a Rio), the creation of a transcoding tool is solidly within the realm of the DMCA's exception.

    This is a very good point (you should have been a lawyer!) but unfortunately it's not the whole story.

    There are new technologies in the pipeline to be released very soon, which will allow content providers to control access to their media to a much greater degree than is currently possible. I'm not just talking about the RIAA's MP3 replacement, but all downloadable digital media. What they do is to wrap the content up in an encrypted packet with a programmatic key which allows you to open it only once for each time you pay.

    In other words, somewhat like the PITA streaming Real Video movies, you can play it but you can't keep it and play it again later (without paying, anyway). It's pay-per-play.

    There is a great deal of pressure coming from the big media industry players and the newbie internet media wannabees to allow them this level of control over their media, content, IP or whatever you want to call it. The DMCA was engineered by precisely the same forces for just this reason.

    So, whatever the rights and wrongs of it, you can't expect them to sit by and watch their latest extortion racket get rolled over by your liberal interpretation of their new law. This law is not about fairness or balance or any kind of compromise, it is about letting them keep complete control of what they see as theirs.

    Consciousness is not what it thinks it is
    Thought exists only as an abstraction
  • I know I'll probably get roasted alive for this, but I think I'll have to agree with this lawsuit. Companies need to have a format for distributing copyrighted material. How many musicians would there be if there was no way for them to make money off it??

    The big things that validate the lawsuit in my mind involve the usurping of the RealPlayer application and replacing logos and search engine links (The whole Snap.com thing.) How would you feel if someone took YOUR source code and removed all evidence that you'd ever worked on it? This goes beyond a neat hack, they altered the functionality of a program without the propper authorization, jeopardizing the revenue source. If it were just a bunch of hackers who did it for fun and GPLed the results I say "So what?" But if someone is making money off this hack......

  • and for those interested in Streambox VCR,

    ftp.wiwi.uni-marburg.de/pub/wimm/new/X-FileGet.e xe

    apparently this is an earlier version...
    all links I found to X-FileGet were referred to Streambox.com

  • Nobody likes a math geek, scully.
  • Um, sounds more like the RIAA of file formats, trying to not people decode their 'uncopyable' format.

    ---
  • Well, thank goodness! For a minute there, I thought I was going to make it through 4 screenfulls of slashdot without hearing the name of the evil empire! Thank *you* AC for being there to save me from such certain doom.
  • Wow you're a geek. His was much funnier. :-)
  • What they do is to wrap the content up in an encrypted packet with a programmatic key which allows you to open it only once for each time you pay.

    I'd like to see how they intend to implement that.
    --

  • Yes, So is whistling whilst you work since that also constitutes a public performance which violates the owner's copyright in the work. I used to sit and laugh at the legal stupidity in the US...now I cry because our politicians seem to have caught the same disease and are busily passing laws to protect the big & powerful corporations from those irrating people who happen to live here. I produce copyrighted work (yes in real life I am a reporter/journalist) and I would not like you to steal my work...but if you ask me you can have it. If you need if for education or training or helping disadvantaged kiddies it is yours for free. If you want to make money out of it sure...just give me a small percentage as I have to eat too. I think this is a healthy attitude which most geeks/hackers and true artists probably agree with. Unfortunately large corporations are not aware of the concept of charity and sharing...maybe this Christmas???
  • Ok, what are the file names, and where are the mirrors?
    I want to test these files out. :)
    Wheres the power of the Internet when you need it...
  • Actually, the Disney corporation tried to sue major VCR manufacturers in the early 80's because they were used for "pirating" copywrited works. I don't remember specifics but I believe the judge ruled against them because VCRs have a few legitimate uses, like home movies or cable-access shows that give explicit permission to copy. That fact also seems pertinent to the whole RIAA vs. MP3 argument, and I'm interested in seeing how someone can get around such a clear-cut precedent.
  • Is it perhaps a law of nature that, when otherwise rational individuals aggregate into corporations, all pretence to sanity and logic disappears and the result is the collective equivalent of a blithering idiot?

    We've had so many examples of this happening in the last few days that it seems quite possible.

    Or is it merely that corporations work in an environment where lawyers lay the ground rules, and the utter cluelessness of many in the legal profession and amorality of the rest tars everyone in the company with the brush of insanity?
  • by bravehamster (44836) on Friday December 24, 1999 @11:29AM (#1446737) Homepage Journal
    Since they had to take it off their site, get it here.

    Streambox ripper [infinity.net]

  • Well I guess anyone who has taped a song off of the radio or their favorite Simpsons episode off of tv had better look out now...someone is going to sue you.
  • I tried to make a file named ".sig" but Explorer wouldn't let me... In response to that:
    C:\>copy con .sig

    ^Z
    1 file(s) copied.
    C:\>dir *.sig
    Volume in drive C is ALPHA
    Volume Serial Number is 1CFB-234C

    Directory of C:\

    12/24/1999 10:59p 0 .sig
    1 File(s) 0 bytes
    0 Dir(s) 35,273,944,064 bytes free

    Stan "Myconid" Brinkerhoff
  • So, using a free file that you didn't even get from RealNetworks for your own purposes, and not taking a cent out of Real's pocket (it isn't like you would have bought the version they sell anyway, does anyone buy that?) is wrong. Oh, all right. Dum dee dum dee dum...

    WAIT!

    That's moronic!

    So, who wants to make the Geocities site that has both programs so that distribution can go on? Now that I've heard about these programs I really want 'em. But of course Streambox took them off the site for the duration of the trial.
  • Only if they are kosher.
  • He'd be better off at Denny's faster service!
  • by dew (3680) <david&weekly,org> on Friday December 24, 1999 @11:34AM (#1446748) Homepage Journal
    If I'm not mistaken, the DMCA allows for the breaking of a protection code if it is for the purposes of interoperability. Since it's clear that transcoding RealAudio files to MP3 files would enable the song to be played in new environments (e.g., on a Rio), the creation of a transcoding tool is solidly within the realm of the DMCA's exception. I'm quite sure Streambox will win this case and collect their $1M bond from RealNetworks.

    Incidentally, if this is the way things turn out, it will greatly strengthen the argument of those advocating Linux DVD solutions - it will show that the DMCA really meant what it says: it's okay to transcode for interoperability!

    I think it should be clear who to cheer for.

    David E. Weekly (dew, Think)

  • I don't like it anymore than the other guy, but at least it is over something with some substance like protecting artists' work and not a patent.
  • This is just sour grapes, plain and simple. It's my understanding that the millenium act doesent even go into effect until next year. Thee following from the Standard [thestandard.com]s article [thestandard.com] is just as dumb:

    Filing the suit demonstrates the importance of digital copyrights in the digital age," said Alex Alben, RealNetworks vice president of government affairs. "We will take significant action to ensure that programming and content delivered by RealNetworks products is protected."

    Protected?, Although not as easy as MP3, there really was no great "protections" scheme to begin with. If they spent half of their time working toward securing the media as they did with "Cookie Collection", this may not have happened at all.

    RealPlayer has been downloaded 92 million times from RealNetwork's Web site. The software allows users to "stream" copyrighted audio and video files to their desktop. But unlike an open-source format like MP3, RealPlayer won't allow end users to make additional copies or distribute the material to others."

    Yeah, Right.

  • This whole thing is irrelevant. The court date is set for early January, and we all know that the world is ending in just a tad over a week.
  • Are there any projects working on getting an Free Software realplayer? I'd love to run realplayer on my Debian system.

    Mabye we can get streambox to release the source...
  • Or, to follow the analogy more closely, someone is going to sue my VCR manufacturer.

    -----------

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