U.S. District Court dismisses antitrust claim by RealNetworks

On 8 January 2010 the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California granted motion to dismiss RealNetworks, Inc. and RealNetworks Home Entertainment, Inc.’s (“Real”) complaint that alleged that DVD Copy Control Association, Inc. and several major motion picture studios violated antitrust laws.

Real essentially argued that the motion picture studios collectively agreed to boycott Real’s plans to market a software product (“RealDVD”) that would have allowed DVDs to be copied on hard drives for viewing. The Court, first, held that Real did not allege enough facts to support such an alleged conspiracy to overcome pleading requirements. Second, the Court held that Real did not, in any case, allege antitrust injury, in particular, because the alleged injury (delayed introduction of RealDVD) primarily results from a preliminary injunction entered by the Court against Real on the basis of likely violation of the DMCA’s anti-circumvention provisions.

RealNetworks Inc., et al. v. DVD Copy Control Association Inc., et al., No. 08-4548 MHP and C 08-4719 MHP, 2010 WL 145098, N.D. Cal., 8 January 2010. [Juha Vesala]