Well i found youtube to be a marvelous place to download videos, to download them i use vixy.net or ripzor.com.. codec converters help along the process as wellWhich can, ironically, put you/your parents in jail.
You can't get anime for free legally, but there are plenty of places that you CAN illegally.
IANAL (I am not a lawyer) BUT:
The way the law works is that this is a grey area. Making AMVs is 'infringement,' *BUT* the courts have to decide, pretty much on a case-by-case basis, if the work is *CRIMINAL* infringement or not. Problem with the language is that words like 'unauthorized' and 'infringing use' are scary and sound wrong/immoral. But with FAIR USE, an in fringement can not only not be wrong, it can be an artist's RIGHT. AMVs may or may not be in either camp, and it may take a while for precedent to get settled one way or another. Winds are changing though; media companies are finding out it's not profitable to sue or threaten your own customer base (like, duh?)
There is a longer post on the subject of AMVs here:http://www.christiananime.net/showthread.php?t=48168
with more information and lots of interesting comments.
Music rights owners tried to sue Thomas Alva Edison for his invention of sound recording cylenders and home-use machine to play the music from the cylinders. They wanted to find a licensing scheme whereby people had to PAY for each single, individual use of each phonograph record when it was played on a record player, or 'gramophone.' ('Gramophone' is one of those words which dates back to the time an airport was called an 'aerodrome.')
One problem is that copyright owners have sometimes asserted 'rights' they don't really have. An example of this is like when you go to a restaurant and there is a sign that says 'Not responsible for lost or stolen articles' - but the legal truth is that they ARE responsible, and putting up a sign cannot remove their liability. But most people who don't know this.
Another example of when people don't know their rights is at certain computer stores where they rummage through your bags on the way out. Oregon law is *VERY* clear on this - once you paid for the stuff title transfers, and the bag is now PRIVATE property. THEY NEED PROBABLE CAUSE AND A WARRANT (or an 'Exception') to look in your bag. Like, they have to have made some observations of you doing specific acts that then generate a REASONABLE BELIEF that you added in something you didn't pay for. Otherwise you can tell 'em "Leave me alone, unless you've got probable cause and a warrant." You can tell them many other 1st Amendment words too.
So record comanies can say "COPYING THIS IS ILLEGAL" but it's actually NOT in ALL CASES. You can lend a book to a friend to read. You can lend a DVD to a friend to watch (or to rip FAIR USE samples of, to create PARODY WORKS.) Example: If I am writing a paper or essay (or multimedia presentation) about my thoughts or idaes, or the history about the General Electric Corporation, I can include their logo breifly enough to ILLUSTRATE my subject so you know what I am talking about. That is an infringement, but it is covered under FAIR USE. So is photocopying a 'small excerpt' of a copyrighted book in your own work when you want to quote or SAMPLE that other work as part of you expressing your own ideas.
PARODY is strongly protected by the Fair Use clause; if you are making parody of something protected, you obviously need to use enough of the original (courts usually settle upon '1/3' and then decide what 1/3 of a cartoon image can be...) in order for audiences to recognize what you're making fun of...
AFAIK there was a case that said that if you already have ripping tools which use deCSS then you can continue to use them for personal use but you cannot SHARE (or make copies for a friend) of deCSS tools. You may be able to buy or otherwise acquire ripping tools legally, because most licenses allow you to make a 'backup copy' of any media you legally acquire which you get to hang onto in the event that your original legally acquired media fails. So, I still have a legal copy of [a ripping program] on my win2K computer. See www.doom9.org
for more info on your legal options for procuring ripping tools.
Remember 'Unauthorized' sounds nasty but doesn't always mean 'criminal' or 'illegal.'
Lastly: Take control of the language. Don't say 'unlicensed' (That sounds bad.) Say 'unrestricted by license in the US.' That sounds more like 'you get to use it until someone in the US secures the foreign rights and then asserts US ownership and control' (which is true and even after it's licensed you still get Fair Use even then.)
MAKING AMVs IS STILL 'FAIR USE.'