Video to iPod

Interestingly absent from Wednesday’s Apple Video iPod announcement was how to get your own video onto the iPod. This was the first question I saw bubble up in chatter among the collective. Well, here’s a DVD ripping guide if you want to know how.
An interesting discussion on Macintouch this morning adds some more interesting tidbits. A reader writes:

Technically, any tool that removes or bypasses (in a non-approved fashion) the Content Scrambling System (CSS) protection on a copy-protected DVD is illegal to use in the US. This is because of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), and because according to the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) – the trade group that represents content owners – you don’t actually own the movie when you buy it; you’re buying a license to the movie, and must abide by the license terms, which include not reverse-engineering the copy protection.

Wonderful. How much you want to bet that Apple releases a new update of iTunes/iPod software that makes it impossible to transfer non Apple created video to your video iPod? I suppose I wouldn’t care too much if Apple created a sort of TiVo to Go type feature–rip your DVD and Apple creates some unique signature or watermark that will enable the video to play only on the machine it was ripped on. But any complicating scheme to obfuscate getting video onto your iPod will only hit creators of video Podcasts or other free downloadable video content. So, Apple needs to be real careful here otherwise they’ll lose the video market to other players.

Let’s hope Apple fights for the right thing here. IMO, that would be allowing consumers to rip their own DVDs, making the transfer of video to other Apple devices trivially easy, shareable to others on the same network or to multiple devices on your own network, and the ability to play any video content on your Apple devices you want. If they don’t, someone else will.

Corry Doctorow gave an excellent speech at last year’s Etech conference on the entertainment industry’s short sightedness in the realm of digital rights. Well worth the read.

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