Two things are going on currently that affect how users access their media: the Pirate Bay trial and the Hollywood vs. Real trial. I fully expect Real to lose the battle, and will be considerably surprised if they don’t, and Hollywood will somehow say that ripping DVDs is illegal. However, I don’t think anything is really going to change.
As far as the Pirate Bay losing it’s trial (and will probably have a retrial), I don’t think the execs are really thinking things through too well. That’s pretty much self-evident to start with, as personally I see torrents as nothing more than free advertising, but the consequences are going to be severe. TorrentFreak has an excellent article they posted recently titled, Why Everybody Lost the Pirate Bay Trial, and I see their prediction as dead-on:
“.. thanks to this trial the next generation of file-sharing sites will be much more secretive. The next mutation of The Pirate Bay will have no subversive rhetoric and won’t mock the labels and studios chasing it. It will be silent. It won’t respond.”
I think a similar thing will happen with the DVD ripping trial … when Real loses, their software will go off the market, as well as a lot of commercial options that rip DVDs as well. But the software won’t go away. It’s already out there. People won’t stop ripping DVDs. I know I won’t. Personally, I feel justified to do what I want within my home with whatever I legally purchase. I don’t see it as a licensing issue since I don’t sign away any rights when buying the physical products, so I ignore their self-installed prohibitions as to what I can and cannot do with my physical property. I also feel justified since I am not making any copies that are given away to anyone else, but I think it’s absolutely incredulous to think that a backup for myself can somehow be contrived as unauthorized.
Anyway, the law may change, but users who think their fair use is getting trampled are just going to ignore it anyway and continue doing things their own way. I can’t really say I blame them.