At least the studios seem to think so. Paramount Studios executive Tom McGrath had this to say about home taping: "The Home Video Recording Act1 was a quid pro quo for immunizing personal home taping. You can tape for personal use, and you can even lend the tape to a friend. But the friend cannot make a copy, nor can you make 10 million copies. We cannot stop the march of technology, but copyright owners must make use of the Internet or other technology in an orderly fashion."2
Ever since the historic Betamax ruling by the Supreme Court in 1984 on time shift, there has been this feeling that tapes made for personal use in the home are widely protected under fair use. However, it is difficult to find specific legal documentation for the claims expressed above. The best I've found is the clause in both the AHRA and the DMCA which immunizes consumers from suit under certain circumstances.
In light of aozilla's clarification, I should state that the name of this node was chosen for its descriptive value. For many people, the distinction between that which is legal and that for which one will never get in trouble is of secondary importance. My feeling was that that sort of person would be interested in this topic. ;-)
- Interestingly, this is not a real law, and I'm not sure whether he is actually referring to the Audio Home Recording Act or the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.