UK Copyright Change Would Legalize CD Ripping

Posted by at 9:12 am on May 19, 2011

A review into the UK’s archaic copyright laws commissioned by the Prime Minister has now been completed and may bring about some significant changes. Chief among the proposed changes is the ability to legally rip DVDs, CDs and Blu-ray discs to a user’s computer. This, and other changes, would help the UK become more competitive on an economic scale with countries such as the US, Professor Ian Hargreaves argued.

Currently, backing up digital files such as MP3s for use on a smartphone or other mobile device is illegal in the UK, though admittedly it’s rarely enforced. Media storage makers such as Kaleidescape will no longer have to wonder if they’re skirting the law.

“My recommendations set out how the intellectual property framework can promote innovation and economic growth in the UK economy,” said Hargreaves. “They are designed to enhance the economic potential of the UK’s creative industries and to ensure that the emergence of high technology businesses, especially smaller businesses, in other sectors are not impeded by our IP laws.”

The report otherwise suggests the UK takes on a Digital Copyright Exchange that will allow organizations to use public domain works without worrying about the risk of breaking copyright law.

It also seeks to relax the rules surround parodies and re-edits of original content, such as those that appear on YouTube.

A change similar to that of the US’ fair use policy that would protect search engines such as Google is not in the cards, however. While Hargreaves and his panel agree that such laws aid innovation on the web, it is impossible to enforce them across all of Europe.

Many of the changes proposed here were also suggested in the 2006 Gowers Review of Intellectual Property, though they were never implemented.

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