CNET News has a really interesting perspective piece highlighting the video
iPod's potential for being a catalyst for DMCA reform, specifically: the (outlandish) portion that makes it illegal to
sell or distribute DVD-ripping software.
The idea behind the article is that, until now, these measures of the DMCA haven't really hit the radar of an audience outside the comparatively small segment of digital-rights advocates. Declan McCullagh, the articles author, believes that the video iPod could finally be the spark large enough to get a much greater portion of consumers interested in (and angry about) the non-DVD-ripping limits on today's software. While McCullagh mentions a few DMCA-reform bills that are already floating around, he's also quick to point out that none of them, at present, have a very bright future.
The video iPod, according to McCullagh's logic, might be able to help all of this. With its wide popularity, he thinks more and more users are going to start questioning why it's so easy for iTunes to rip a CD to their library (and iPod), and yet the software balks at a DVD movie. Yes - before you start firing up the comment form, there are still ways of getting a DVD off a plastic disc and onto your favorite media player, iPod or otherwise. But for the greater community of users out there, DVD ripping is still a thing of mystery and magic.
I recommend you check out the full article as I think it's a really interesting read, but there's one thing I want to add to the discussion; a factor that neither the industry nor these politicians seem to examine: price. I wholeheartedly believe that if these companies cleaned all of their "market research" and "value perception" statistics out of their ears, they would realize that people are stealing content because they know the providers are taking them for a ride - and they won't put up with it anymore. Everyone knows CDs cost pennies on the dollar, and DVDs cost even less than VHS tapes to produce, yet they retail for a far higher price. The rampant (and as-yet unstoppable) success off the iTMS is real world proof that people will pay for the content, maybe even more content, as long as it has a fair price.
But alas, as with all other political affairs, our ability to copy DVDs that we own will only change at the speed of bureaucracy.