RealNetworks continues to hire engineers to work on Facet, a DVD player that copies and stores film discs despite allegations by Hollywood that the device violates copyright.
Real has posted a job ad on Craigslist asking for qualified Linux engineers to apply.
"The Facet team is creating a rich set of consumer media experiences that will make the consumer electronics industry stand up and take notice," Real said in the job posting, first reported by Video Business Online.
But studio executives have already taken notice and they haven't liked what they see. Real's hopes of offering consumers a means to backup their movies face a serious legal challenge from the Motion Picture Association of America, the trade group for the six largest film studios.
The MPAA filed a lawsuit last fall and a U.S. District judge blocked further sales of RealDVD, a software that enables users to copy DVDs and store the duplicates on a computer hard drive. RealDVD is really the spearhead in Real's DVD-copying strategy. The MPAA alleges that RealDVD violates copyright law. Hollywood says the $30 software and Facet, a DVD player that can copy and store about 70 films, are nothing more than pirating tools.
On May 21, attorneys for Real and the MPAA will make their closing arguments for a hearing on whether the injunction on RealDVD sales should be lifted. By continuing to develop Facet amid a potentially technology-killing court fight, is Real being overconfident? After all, the public company has spent the majority of RealDVD's $6 million development costs on litigation.
"If the court keeps the injunction in place we will not bring Facet to market as it exists today," said Bill Hankes, a Real spokesman. "Nobody should infer too much from the job posting."
An MPAA spokeswoman declined comment.