Wired’s Thread Level has a blog on the likely outcome of the Real Networks DVD ripping case. The provide a little background on the oddity of DVDs (& Blu-Ray discs, too):
It’s OK to copy music from CDs, for example, and place it in an iPod. Yet, it’s illegal to do the same with a DVD. When it comes to the DVD, there’s not even a question of fair use.
How can the DVD and CD be treated so differently? Answer: The Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which protects the DVD but not the CD.
I’ve yet to hear from anyone who disagrees with this. Frankly, when it comes to being able to rip DVDs to save from our toddler’s destructive hands (she’s broken more than one) or to save battery life for watching a movie on a flight, I find that valid fair use. How this part of the DMCA is remotely legal is totally beyond me.
Another reason this has come to light for fair use, is that the MPAA recently recommended a convoluted method for teachers wishing to show portions of a DVD in class: recorded the screen with a camcorder in a dark room. This Rube Goldberg contraption of a solution is only slightly worse than holding my mini tape deck up to the radio when I was a kid. That is, pretty much worthless.