Warner Brothers archaic, "we don't like the idea of distributing our content in a non-physical format" has been well documented at WebProNews and beyond. Basically, Warner Brothers does not want your renting their home video content, they'd prefer you buy it on DVD. Furthermore, after you buy one of their DVDs, that's it. They have never supported the concept of ripping the contents of the DVD to other devices, at least, not until now.
Provided you consider Warner Brothers' new approach to converting a DVD into a digital file progress. Many don't, including the collective at PublicKnowledge.org. To demonstrate just how much they can adapt to the digital revolution, Warner Brothers has introduced perhaps the most cumbersome "Disc-to-Digital" program, one that actually dissuades people from using, which is perhaps the WB's goal all along.
Does this mean that Warner Brothers is releasing ripping software--or, well hardware, I guess--to the public to facilitate this transformation process? Of course not. That would be entirely too easy. No, what Warner Brothers proposes is something entirely different and absolutely inconvenient. Public Knowledge has the details:
...the first phase in this process is to let DVD owners bring their DVDs to a store that will handle the digital conversion. Tsujihara described this process as allowing consumers to convert their libraries "easily, safely and at reasonable prices."
You did read that last paragraph correctly. The head of Warner Home Entertainment Group thinks that an easy, safe way to convert movies you already own on DVD to other digital formats is to take your DVDs, find a store that will perform this service, drive to that store, find the clerk who knows how to perform the service, hope that the “DVD conversion machine” is not broken, stand there like a chump while the clerk “safely” converts your movie to a digital file that may only play on studio-approved devices, drive home, and hope everything worked out. Oh, and the good news is that you would only need to pay a reasonable (per-DVD?) price for this pleasure. [Emphasis added]
To demonstrate this process in action, Public Knowledge has also put together an incredibly handy diagram of how the process works:
Considering the fact we has consumers have been able to rip music CDs to other devices for, well, longer than some have been around, the movie industry's approach to ripping content from DVDs is laughable, but it's not going away anytime soon (PDF). I suppose Warner Brothers could be credited for at least being open to the idea, but the method they want consumers to use is absolutely absurd.
Maybe one day these movie studios will understand the concept of ownership and digital distribution a little better than they do. Until then, there are still copies of DVDShrink floating around the Internet. Just flex those Google muscles a little and you should be rewarded with the appropriate exe file.
In others news, it's clear Frank Zappa and his awesome t-shirt were well ahead of their time.