RealNetworks, Streambox Settle Copyright Case

Streaming media software company RealNetworks Inc. ended one of the first tests of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act on Friday with an out-of-court settlement with Streambox Inc., a software rival it accused of copyright infringement.

RealNetworks' federal suit, filed Dec. 22, 1999, in Federal District Court for the Western District of Washington against Streambox, accused the company of violating the DMCA with its Streambox Ripper and Streambox VCR products. Ripper converts RealAudio files, which can be copy-protected by their owners, into MP3, WAV or Windows Media files, which lack similar copy protection. Streambox VCR can play and record video streams in the RealPlayer G2 format, also sidestepping copy protection.

Streambox was also accused of using its Streambox Ferret program to tamper with RealNetworks' contract with NBC Internet Inc.'s Snap.com. Streambox Ferret allegedly changes the appearance of the RealPlayer, replacing the Snap.com search engine and logo with Streambox's.

Streambox will cease distribution of the Streambox Ferret program under the settlement and pay an undisclosed sum to RealNetworks.

Under the agreement, RealNetworks will license the RealSystem Software Development Kit to Streambox. Streambox will modify its Streambox Ripper product to no longer change RealMedia streams into other formats and will modify its StreamboxVCR product to respect RealNetworks' copy protection feature.

RealNetworks, based in Seattle, Washington, can be reached at +1-206-674-2700 or at http://www.real.com/. Streambox, also in Seattle, Washington, can be reached at +1-206-956-0554 or at http://www.streambox.com/.

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