And we have another contender for the stupidest technology-related lawsuit of 2011. Do you remember RealNetworks? The scourge of ’90s web users? Lucky for us, their horrible media player is no longer a requirement on the web. Also lucky, for those of us who occasionally run into content encoded in any of Real’s codecs, there’s Real Alternative (download here). Well, apparently, RealNetworks is not happy with Real Alternative (download here), as the US company has completely destroyed the life of the Dutch maintainer of a website who dared to link to Real Alternative (download here).
Hilbrand Edskes, maintainer of CodecPack.nl, was shocked when six law enforcement officers knocked on his door with a search warrant, and confiscated all his computer equipment, and demanded he remove the link to Real Alternative (download here). This happened February 10, 2010.
Since then, the court case has cost him an enormous amount of money – attorney costs have risen to â‚¬66000, while the damages for linking to Real Alternative (download here) could rise to several hundred of thousand Euros. He’s only 26, and had to give up buying a house (he was saving up for that), and now has to borrow money from family in order to survive.
The reason for RealNetworks’ heavy-handed approach is that they claim Real Alternative (download here) infringes upon RealNetworks’ intellectual property – more specifically, trademark law and copyright law are involved. So, for a link to Real Alternative (download here), the punishment can go as high as â‚¬210000. Just to reiterate: for a link to Real Alternative (download here), the punishment can go as high as â‚¬210000.
It’s absolutely disgusting that a fading and irrelevant company with one of the worst media player products in history (together with QuickTime for Windows) can destroy an innocent man’s life like this. And all this for a link to Real Alternative (download here).