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Saturday, September 9, 2000 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Deal protects RealNetworks-generated files

Seattle Times technology reporter

In what was perhaps the first major challenge under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, Seattle-based RealNetworks has settled a federal lawsuit with Streambox, a company it accused of copyright infringement.

Under the settlement, Streambox, also based in Seattle, agreed that any future products would adhere to RealNetworks' copy protection features. Streambox also agreed to pay RealNetworks an undisclosed sum.

In December, RealNetworks, maker of the most popular software to download and play back audio and video files through the Internet, sued to stop Streambox from distributing software that allowed video or audio originating from RealNetworks products to be copied and saved in a different format.

U.S. District Judge Marsha Pechman ruled a month later that Streambox infringed copyright laws with two out of three products challenged in the lawsuit.

Streambox has agreed to modify Streambox Ripper so that it no longer allows consumers to convert files originally created in RealAudio to other formats, increasing the number of ways the files could be played back. The company also said it would modify Streambox VCR, which allows users to copy audio and video files stored on a RealServer.

RealNetworks also provided Streambox with a license to the RealSystem Software Development Kit to create future products.

"We would rather work productively with companies like Streambox to develop and bring to market new technologies," said RealNetworks' associate general counsel Bill Way.

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act is a revised copyright law approved by Congress in 1998 to deal with digital technology.

Copyright (c) 2000 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

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