RealNetworks Faces Real Music: $500 Million Privacy Lawsuit

Share this article:
The direct marketing industry is watching closely as RealNetworks, Seattle, weathers two high-profile legal actions over alleged privacy violations after disclosure that the company's proprietary RealJukebox media player was tracking and reporting user's listening habits without their knowledge.

RealNetworks moved quickly to rectify the problem by offering a downloadable software patch while simultaneously revealing that it used ID numbers but claimed not to associate them with user's personal information.

The two lawsuits included a class-action suit in California Superior Court in the amount of $500 million brought by a RealJukebox user and a federal class-action lawsuit filed the following day in Pennsylvania by RealNetworks users from Colorado, Kansas and Pennsylvania. Both legal actions accuse the company of engaging in misleading businesses practices and violating state consumer protections laws and the federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.

RealNetworks did not return calls for comment, but analysts said the company technically didn't violate any privacy law; rather it deviated from the data-collection policy it originally communicated to customers.

TRUSTe, an online seal certification program said it would not revoke RealNetworks' seal claiming its charter does not cover software products. The online privacy monitoring organization took no action against Microsoft Corp., Redmond, WA, for a similar violation earlier in the year related to its Windows 98 operating system. However, no lawsuits relating to privacy were filed against Microsoft.
Share this article:

Next Article in News

Sign up to our newsletters

Follow us on Twitter @dmnews

Latest Jobs:

More in News

Linda Woolley Steps Down as DMA Chief

Linda Woolley Steps Down as DMA Chief

The Direct Marketing Association board of directors names Benton and Berzan as interim replacements in her roles as CEO and president.

News Byte: Comcast Expanding Global Ad Delivery Through Partnership

News Byte: Comcast Expanding Global Ad Delivery Through ...

Through a partnership with Adstream , Comcast's AdDelivery Service expands its footprint across the globe.

40 Under 40 2014: Nominations Are Now Open!

40 Under 40 2014: Nominations Are Now Open!

It's time to nominate the 2014 crop of young marketing luminaries for Direct Marketing News's 40 Under 40 Awards. The deadline is Friday, June 6, 2014.