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RealNetworks cuts deal with Streambox

Streaming media VCR developer settles suit out of court

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RealNetworks has settled its legal fight with Streambox, nearly nine months after it was granted a temporary injunction against the latter's streaming media VCR software.

Streambox launched its Streambox VCR product last November, as we reported here. The software allowed users to record content streamed from RealNetworks' servers and play it back at a time more convenient to them by converting it into WAV, MP3 or Windows Media Player's native format.

Not surprisingly, RealNetworks wasn't too happy about this and quickly sought legal redress. It claimed Streambox's software contravened the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which prohibits the breaking of copyright protection mechanisms, something RealNetworks alleged Streambox VCR had to do in order to record the streamed content - a point that Streambox tacitly admitted.

In January this year, RealNetworks won an injunction banning Streambox from offering Streambox VCR and one other product, Ferret, which locates streamed media content.

The judge threw out RealNetworks' request for a ban on Streambox's Ripper, which converts RealNetworks' proprietary audio format into open MP3 files.

Late last week, however, Streambox agreed to switch off Ripper's Real-to-MP3 facility. It also agreed to cease distributing Ferret, and to "respect the copyrights" of RealNetworks' streaming system, which effectively means that Streambox VCR will no longer record media streamed in RealNetworks' format.

The company will also pay RealNetworks damages, though neither company would reveal the sum to be paid. ®

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