Convert video for the iPod

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Is this legal?

Creating software that extracts video from the copy-protection system used on DVDs is illegal under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA)—even if the software is meant only to extract video from personal DVD collections for personal use.

However, the law is murkier when it comes to using tools such as HandBrake and MacTheRipper. Common sense would suggest that if you’re extracting video from DVDs you own in order to view them yourself, you’re well within your rights. But common sense and the law don’t always intersect. Some court rulings suggest that it’s not unlawful to circumvent DVD protection for noninfringing purposes; on the other hand, the Motion Picture Association of America maintains that any DVD ripping violates the DMCA.

So what’s an iPod owner to do? As far as we’re concerned, moving video from your DVDs to your iPod is an absolutely fair use of the video on DVDs you’ve bought. But because the law is still not completely clear on this matter, every iPod user will need to personally assess the risks involved in ripping DVDs. —Jason Snell

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