UK Government Ready to Allow Disc Rips

Posted by at 12:06 am on August 3, 2011

The UK will finally greenlight a fair use policy for media, insiders in the government disclosed Tuesday. Business Secretary Vince Cable is believed to be accepting the results of a review of British copyright by Professor Ian Hargreaves and should clear format shifting for personal use in an announcement on Today. The proposed legal changes that Reuters saw will make legal to rip a CD, DVD, or any other format for the sake of making it usable, such as loading up an iPhone from iTunes.

The step wouldn’t let users make files public without consent, such as on a file sharing network, but it would ease the implementation of cloud music services like Google Music or iTunes Match. An extra condition in the terms is also legalizing parody without consent and should allow more comedy despite the UK’s notoriously sensitive libel laws.

Talk of a central copyright exchange for simplifying licensing deals is an unknown and may not make the Wednesday findings, if at all.

UK government officials have always taken a light approach to enforcing laws against disc ripping or other personal copying but have never gone so far as to legalize them. Labels and studios have often been hesitant about official recognition, both out of concerns a law might unintentionally endorse piracy but also out of a reluctance to discourage a second sale from a digital store.

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