Two questions here on the legality of DVD Video Backup. At our school many departments have DVD videos they use in classes. I was thinking it would be a good idea to simply RIP these DVD to a central shared area, and store the DVD's but never use them directly. Is this fair use? We'd keep the original to prove that we have it.

The other question relates to the above. If we where to make backup copies, and rip the disks using say VLC after decryption of course. What is the legality of using proprietary video codecs (MPEG4), do we have to pay anything, even if the encoder implementation is free.

In fact is using an open-source MPEG2 decoder (VLC) for DVD playback even legal. I know it's open source but doesn't the MPEG licensing authority require royalty payment in some form?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!