Originally Posted by teckstud
Why is it illegal to rip a DVD that you own but OK to rip a CD? Why haven't the lawyers then shut down Handbrake? If you own - you should be able to rip it.
That's because of the DMCA, a law in the US that forbids the circumvention of digital copy-protection schemes, even for "fair-use". I think that the Handbrake developers are not based in the US, and if I remember correctly the software includes a warning that ripping a DVD might be illegal in "your country".
Standard audio CDs don't include copy-protection, hence can be ripped for personal use. Ripping a CD on a friends computer and giving him the songs (while keeping the CD) would still be illegal.
There has been a few attempts to add DRM to CDs but these failed one after another (the worst case being the Sony DRM rootkit fiasco).
I like to entertain the idea that in a parallel world where the iPod (and the iTunes store) didn't exist, that by now the music industry would've phased out the uncompressed, unprotected audio CD's completely from the market, replacing them with CDs containing only
WMA DRM audio. The transition wouldn't have been hard, because you can bet that without the iPod success, the Windows default WMA DRM would have taken control of the market pretty quickly, and 95%+ of the media players (including CD players) would support WMA's DRM. And by abandoning standard unprotected CD audio completely, the music labels wouldn't have to include rootkits and other nasty schemes to try to hide the unprotected audio from ripping programs.
I can also imagine that at that point, Microsoft would have forced its WMA licensees to abandon native MP3 playback (providing some MP3 to WMA tools to ease the transition). And the DOJ wouldn't have done anything about it, because it would be seen as a way to combat piracy.
I also think that in a world without iPods, the case against DRM would've been much weaker. Remember that the main argument against DRM is interoperability problems between devices (iPods and other players for example). If WMA was supported everywhere, this argument wouldn't have any weight, except maybe for linux and Mac users, and if it was the only argument left, the only "consumer-friendly" thing I could see happening is Microsoft releasing linux and Mac OS WMA DRM software programs (or being forced to release them, just like Real was forced to release RealPlayer for linux.)
As for Sony, with its ATRAC format, they would've been Microsoft's only competitor when it comes to audio DRM formats, and we can assume they would've failed to compete, eventually giving up and adopting WMA. Remember that the DRMed tracks added to the infamous Sony rootkit CDs were WMA, not ATRAC. And in our world, where the iPod dominates, with or without that rootkit scandal, the fact is DRMed WMA and ATRAC tunes can't be played on the iPod, so this scheme had not chance work as planned.
At the time Sony in their FAQ about the DRMed CDs, publicly blamed Apple for not licensing Fairplay to be used in "rippable" tracks in these protected discs. Ironically, you could rip the high-quality audio from the DRMed discs on a Mac without any problems, as the rootkit scheme was Windows only.
Now, we see Apple licensing FairPlay to do what they didn't want to do with Sony, but this time for videos on DVDs. What's the difference? Why are they doing it with video and not audio discs? The reason is simple, and it goes back to the beginning of this post: while you can copy just about any music songs in the world from a CD to an iPod legally, ripping a DVD to an iPod or Apple TV is not (at least in the US), so it's in Apple's interest to provide a legal way to transfer movies from DVDs to iPods, especially since the iTunes store movie selection is relatively small. Apple needs to provide, or facilitate the acquisition of legal video sources for use on the iPod and iPhone, they can't let WMV dominate this particular market segment.