Real Networks, which won a lot of street cred taking on the movie industry, has burnt the lot suing a Dutch bloke for displaying a hyperlink to a rival freeware package.
The outfit wants compensation for its claimed losses, while the 26-year-old man is borrowing money from his family to survive. But the story shows what a bunch of tossers the outfit really is. In 2010, RealNetworks allegedly demanded that the computers belonging to Hilbrand Edskes and his family be confiscated.
A Dutch judge for some reason allowed this bullying on the basis of an alleged violation of copyright law and trademark law. That is right, the same thing Real earned its reputation for fighting the movie industry over.
Real claimed that Edskes was hosting the infringing software however it got its court order in secret. Apparently to make sure that evidence was not deleted.
According to PC Advisor, Edskes' website is called Codecpack.nl, and it links to a wide variety of freeware programs including Real Alternative which was a competitor of the mediaplayer RealPlayer.
RealNetworks alleges that the software violates its trademarks and copyright, and it wants to be compensated for all downloads via Codecpack.nl.
But if it had asked, or even looked at the site, Real it would have discovered that Edskes wasn't hosting the software, but just redirecting to other sites for the actual download. The complaint turned out to be based on a hyperlink to the software.
So far Edskes has incurred more than €66,000 in legal fees. Dutch law requires him to cover all legal fees of RealNetworks if he loses and this will set him back €75,000.
RealNetworks claims Edskes failed to remove the link to the software. The hosting provider checked backups and confirmed the removal of the link. The company that confiscated the computers has confirmed the immediate removal of the link.
But RealNetworks alleges the infringement was ongoing for 43 days and thus Edskes ought to pay €210,000 in fines.
Either way Edskes is a very small fish in the distribution of Realplayer's rival. The software is available all over the web. It seems that Real is not even aware who the real creator of Real Alternative is. It is just trying to terrify the little people into avoiding distribution of the software.