Warner Bros. recently announced a new initiative called “disc-to-digital” to allow consumers to use a variety of methods (e.g., take your discs into stores) to turn their DVDs into digital copies stored in a virtual cloud that they can watch on (studio-approved) Internet-connected devices — for a fee.  And, of course, the files will be digitally protected with UltraViolet, the movie studio’s latest (& useless) digital rights authentication and cloud-based licensing system.  Take a look at Techdirt & ExtraTorrent reviews of Ultraviolet if you haven’t heard of it.

Really???  Are the movie studios, MPAA, etc., really that stupid?  Or do they just think that the consumers are that stupid?  Frankly, I don’t know which is worse.  Either way, the “disc-to-digital” initiative described above is just plain dumb AND stupid!

As for other related news…  every three years the US Copyright Office considers requests for exemptions to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) that prevents breaking or circumventing digital locks (making copying DVDs illegal).  Right now Public Knowledge is fighting for an exemption to allow anyone who lawfully owns a motion picture (including TV shows) on DVD to break the digital lock on that DVD in order to copy the motion picture to another device for noncommercial purposes (i.e., smartphone, iPad, laptop, etc.).  While I wholeheartedly support this effort, I’m not going to hold by breath because the entire movie industry (& friends) are fighting this exemption tooth & nail.

Many people started digitizing their (lawfully purchased) DVD collection almost a decade ago, when DVD Shrink first hit the street in 2003.   Many also accelerated their digitization when the movie industry started taking control of their DVD players, by not allowing users to skip over previews and the increasingly annoying & longer FBI Warnings (in multiple languages, no less), among other irritating features.

Unfortunately, by 2008 the studios had added additional copyright protection features to DVDs that thwarted the use of DVD Shrink, which hadn’t been updated since 2006, and many people switched to other software, such as DVDFab (which also allows conversion to many popular video file formats).  There now must be over a dozen different vendors of updated DVD ripping software.  Here’s a review from one site of the top ten DVD rippers for 2012.

So… for those who desire to build a digital library of their (lawfully purchased) DVD collection, the tools are all there (and have been for some time).  As for Warner Bros. “disc-to-digital” initiative?  Good luck with that.