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Legal Briefs

Atom Corp. VS. Atom-Bomb.com
Atom Corp. of Seattle, who run the online film company AtomFilms, and Venice, California-based Atom-Bomb.com Inc., another online entertainment community, announced late yesterday that they have settled their trade name, trademark and service mark dispute on mutually acceptable, confidential terms.

Due to the terms of the settlement agreement, neither party could comment on the dispute, and may have no further public comments regarding the issue.

By John Townley

Real Networks VS. Streambox.com
"You only sue the ones you love, the ones you shouldn't sue at all..." That paraphrased pop oldie seems to be echoing across the Net as companies first sue each other, then go into business together.

Joining the litigious matrimonial tide Friday were RealNetworks Inc. and Streambox Inc., who settled the federal lawsuit brought by RealNetworks against Streambox under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act in December 1999.

RealNetworks claimed that the Streambox software suite illegally disabled a copy protection system used to secure RealAudio and G2 streaming audio files.

The products in question were the Streambox Ripper, which converts CDs into the well-known MP3 format and into Windows Media, and Streambox VCR, which "records" RealNetworks audio streams for playback.

Under the settlement, which took place in the Federal District Court for the Western District of Washington, Streambox will develop future products that will operate in conjunction with RealNetworks' copy protection features. Specifically, Streambox agreed that it will modify its Streambox Ripper and StreamboxVCR products to bring them in line with the copy protection feature in RealSystem.

RealNetworks will provide Streambox with a license to the RealSystem Software Development Kit, which Streambox can use to create future versions of Streambox products that will respect RealNetworks' copy protection technology.

As part of the settlement, Streambox also agreed to stop distributing the Streambox Ferret program, which altered the search functionality on RealNetworks' RealPlayer, and to pay RealNetworks an undisclosed sum of money.

In a statement released by the company, Streambox indicated that it has emerged from the legal battle as the "clear winner because the product not enjoined in the ruling, Streambox Ripper, was the only product that was actually being sold. Streambox VCR was in beta test mode and Ferret was a free plug in that was given away. The ruling allows Streambox to continue the development of Streambox VCR."

RealNetworks noted that it, too, is pleased with the ruling.

"RealNetworks has a great track record of working with hundreds of developers around the world and we have now set the stage for a productive relationship with Streambox," said Steve Banfield, general manager for RealPlayer,. "Streambox's innovations will be welcomed by their many users and the more than 140 million unique registered users of RealPlayer worldwide."



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