Is it illegal for one use a ripping and decoding software to rip his or her own DVD collection? Does the Digital Millennium Copyright Act make it illegal? I was always under the impression that a person may make legal copies of his or her own DVD collection. This question comes after reading a CNET story titled: “White House wants new copyright law crackdown.”
Under the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act, it's generally illegal to distribute hardware or software -- such as the DVD-decoding software Handbrake available from a server in France -- that can "circumvent" copy protection technology. The administration is proposing that if Homeland Security seizes circumvention devices, it be permitted to "inform rightholders," "provide samples of such devices," and assist "them in bringing civil actions."
Personally, I have ripped nearly everyone of my 150+ legally bought and paid for DVDs with Handbreak. Now I am not sure if I did it legally. I have the original DVD for nearly everyone of the ripped videos. There are few that I missing after some of my DVD collection was destoryed due to a rocket attack during my first deployment to Iraq.
That attack is what prompted me to continue ripping. If had not rip the movies before that event, I would have been out of some cash. As a side note, I did lose some movies/dvds forever because of the attack.
Since I continue to serve overseas in non-friendly areas, this is a hot subject. I want to keep my movie collection protected and backed up. Not to mention, it is more convenient to carry around a small portalable hard drive with my collection campared to a large and heavy folder(s) of DVDs.
BONUS: Are there any legit groups who is working with the U.S. law-makers to get the DMCA and/or Fair Use Policy updated? I agree that we need it but I believe there are many flaws with these laws.