Hollywood studios including Walt Disney Co. and News Corp. plan to file a lawsuit to block RealNetworks Inc. from distributing software that enables consumers to copy DVDs to computer hard drives.

The Motion Picture Association of America contends the RealDVD program will facilitate piracy, the trade group said today in an e-mailed statement. Seattle-based RealNetworks said in a statement it will seek a ruling that the product is legal.

Studios are trying to stem piracy that costs the U.S. and foreign film industries about $18 billion a year, according to the MPAA. RealDVD bypasses encryption software the studios install on DVDs, allowing consumers to copy rented and purchased DVDs, the association said. The group plans to file the complaint in U.S. district court in Los Angeles.

RealDVD enables DVD owners to copy a movie only to their computer hard drives. It falls within the law because encoded protections prevent the film from being transferred to blank DVDs, the company said. RealNetworks said its encryption was ``more robust'' than software used by the studios.

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