It’s easy. If there’s a knee-slapping viral video or an NFL highlight reel you’ve got to own, you can get it with just a little effort. To reduce the risk of legal trouble, don’t distribute it, though; keep it only for your personal use.
If you want a clip from a video-sharing site like YouTube or break.com, one super-cinchy way is to plug the URL into KeepVid (keepvid.com). It not only downloads the clip for you but can also convert it into an MP4 file that will run on most video players. Several helper apps can do the job as well. If you’re on Firefox, use the Tools menu to install the DownloadHelper add-on, which places a convenient video-capture button right on your browser. Or you can try Miro (free; getmiro.com), an open-source video powerhouse that helps you find, store, and organize clips (including many in high-def) and plays a host of different file types.
If you want to capture live streaming video rather than stored files, you’re going to need to spend some money. For Windows, check out SnagIt ($50; techsmith.com) or, on a Mac, Snapz Pro X 2 with Movie Capture ($70; ambrosiasw.com). They’ll let you grab anything you see, so you can quickly build up your own video jukebox.