Is it illegal?
I guess that like most people I'm getting confused by the current 'fair use' (Berne Convention?) provision - so if the transfer (moving copyrighted content to a new medium) was for personal, i.e. non-shared, use then it was permitted.
Personally I'd like to see a firming up of the (unofficial?) position that the BPI are apparently taking - namely that if you're ripping a bought CD to put on your iRiver, Creative Labs, (or even Apple), player solely then that's fine. We've also got to the position that BluRay disks (and some DVD's) now come with a "free" digital copy for putting on MP4 players. Finally, there seems to be a growth in the provision of DRM-free (yay!) digital download (Play, Amazon, et al). These are developments I find encouraging.
To my own simple world view an improved law is quite easy to do - merely change it so that it's only illegal if the ripping activities denies a copyright holder some revenue. So ripping a CD or DVD (even if it's available via ITMS etc) that you own for your personal use is okay (you already have the source media, so in effect are licensed). On the other hand borrowing someone else's CD/DVD to rip, or sharing the rip is a no-no. The onus would also be shifted - so it's up to the BPI etc to prove that they're losing out. Many people have suggested this already - mainly because, to most normal people at least, it's common sense!
A revised law would be a winning situation all round - the law is easier to understand (and apply); the community get to use _their_ purchases the way they want; copyright holders get a bit of (much needed) good PR; and it leaves them free to shift focus from prosecuting the folks taking a 'backup copy' of their latest album, to the major league pirates. Unfortunately, I suspect that big business will be busy whispering to the politico's to ensure that the status quo is maintained, perhaps with even large fines for 'offenders', (to their eyes this would be 'progress').
I'm going to continue to rip _my_ CD's and _my_ DVD's to the various players I've got around (portable players, PC-based players, and my car CD player) - as I said above, the copyright holders aren't losing a sale, so where's the harm?