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I have used Real Player for a number of years and the free version has always remained free. I have never had a problem accessing my videos or playing them. I have only heard of one Real Player but maybe we are confusing video players. Just in case, the one I'm speaking of you can download at www.real.com. If we are speaking of the same one then the only thing I can think of is that you downloaded the (Real Player Plus trial) which is the paid version, and when the trial ends they ask if you would like to purchase it or convert it back to the free version. I mention this because this has happened to a few of my friends.