Ripping is extracting all or parts of digital content from a container. Originally, it meant to rip music out of Commodore 64 games. Later, the term was used to mean to extract WAV or MP3 format files from digital audio CDs, but got applied as well to extract the contents of any media, including DVD and Blu-ray discs, and video game sprites.
Despite the name, neither the media nor the data is damaged after extraction. Ripping is often used to shift formats, and to edit, duplicate or back up media content. A rip is the extracted content, in its destination format, along with accompanying files, such as a cue sheet or log file from the ripping software.
To rip the contents out of a container is different from simply copying the whole container or a file. When creating a copy, nothing looks into the transferred file, nor checks if there is any encryption or not, and raw copy is also not aware of any file format. One can copy a DVD byte by byte via programs like the Linux dd command onto a hard disk, and play the resulting ISO file just as one would play the original DVD.
To rip contents is also different from grabbing an analog signal and re-encoding it, as it was done with early day CD-ROM drives not capable of digital audio extraction (DAE). Sometimes even encoding, i.e. digitizing audio and video originally stored on analog formats, such as vinyl records is incorrectly referred to as ripping.

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