This is only going to get uglier. Read a very intelligent post on Ars Technica covering the legal issues. The studios are claiming that even though the letter of the law is not violated, the spirit of it is.
The big issue is whether or not people can rent DVDs at Blockbuster, then copy them to a hard drive in the home. James to Hollywood: why would this be bad?
Think of this way: the rental would have been paid for. Revenue in. The copy placed on the hard drive can’t be shared, emailed, or otherwise viewed except on those computers owned by the individual that also have RealDVD installed on them. The absolute worst case for the movie industry is that someone loads up a laptop with a bunch of movies they rented so they can watch them on the road over the next few weeks. Sounds like this actually increases rental transactions because it makes me get a few extra videos while I’m in the rental store because I know I’ll be able to watch them over the next few weeks.
Who gets hurt here? Remember, people who want to rip DVDs illegally already do so with great abandon. For the rest of us who simply want a convenient way to watch movies, telling us we have no legal options only makes the illegal ones more attractive.