Ruling against the RealNetworks in the trial of sooo last century, a federal judge said that it was illegal to sell or make DVD copying software under the DMCA. But what about actually ripping DVDs yourself?
When it comes to making personal copies, U.S. District Court Judge Marilyn Hall Patel left that totally gray—that is, she chose not to rock the boat on whether or not making personal copies actually falls under the "fair use" doctrine of the DMCA. Lots of "mays" and "whiles" in there:
"So while it may well be fair use for an individual consumer to store a backup copy of a personally owned DVD on that individual's computer, a federal law has nonetheless made it illegal to manufacture or traffic in a device or tool that permits a consumer to make such copies."
So DVD ripping is kind of like laws about pot in some places: It's sorta legal to possess in certain circumstances, but not kosher to sell it. Thanks for clearing that up, judge.