However, if you happen to be a film professor (a legitimate film professor at a real school) you do have the right to copy small parts of a DVD for educational use -- which is one of the exemptions to the no-ripping rule announced by the copyright office. Other exemptions approved this week include one for cell phone owners that will allow them to break software locks on phones in order to use them with other providers, one for researchers who test CD copy-protection technologies for security flaws or vulnerabilities, an exemption for the blind allowing them to use read copyright protected books with assistive viewing devices and two others covering computer obsolescence. These exemptions were handed down by the Librarian of Congress James H. Billington and were the most ever allowed at one time by the copyright office. Naturally, cell phone carriers and Hollywood studios sought to block these exemptions, citing various reasons, including loss of revenue in the case of cell phone providers and the availability of VHS tapes for professors to take footage from in the case of Hollywood studios, but their attempts were unsuccessful. Noted Billington in his ruling on the exemption for film professors and their use of copyrighted DVDs: "The record did not reveal any alternative means to meet the pedagogical needs of the professors." Yeah, in your face Hollywood studios.
So remember, you're not legally allowed to rip DVDs to your iPod. No exceptions, loopholes or exemptions for anyone -- unless you're a film professor or don't mind the FBI kicking in your dorm room door. So, if you do end up taking video from a DVD and putting it on your iPod, you're officially breaking the law. But I'm sure none of you would ever do that.