New UK law makes copying CDs legal

Music Cds thumb New UK law makes copying CDs legalAn outdated law meaning millions of people are unknowingly copying music illegally is due to be swept away by the Government.

Business Secretary Vince Cable has backed proposals to update what some have called the country’s ‘archaic copyright laws’.

At the moment it is technically illegal to transfer content from CDs and DVDs onto a different format such as a computer or MP3 player.

The Government is putting the wheels in motion to change this, allowing people to transfer content and make copies for their own and immediate family’s personal use.

However, at present millions of people are breaking the law, with many unaware they are doing it.

Intellectual property lawyer for Mishcon De Reya Adam Morallee believes legislation is merely catching up with what is already being done.

‘It really does have to catch up and look at what’s happening. The people who operate the fast sharing sites are miles ahead of the where the legislators are.’

These proposals are in response to a review of Intellectual Property legislation carried out in May. The government is expected to agree with much of the report.

Sharing of copyrighted material over the internet will still be illegal.

However some critics in the entertainment industry believe these proposals are merely altering an outdated law.

What they are not doing is tackling the real and pressing problem posed by illegal downloading.

Jonathan Shalit, chairman of Roar Global which represents artists, told Sky News he is worried about the repercussions for his clients.

‘The minute you say it is legal to copy something you’re then legitimising it and where does the barrier or boundaries of immediate family end.

‘I think it has not been well thought through and a lack of respect remains for artists who create the original product.’

Online spoofs are also expected to receive legal protection.

The makers of Newport State of Mind, a song which satirised singer Alicia Key’s Empire version by moving it from New York to South Wales, was removed from YouTube recently after a legal battle.

MJ Delaney, the director of the track, did not realise she had been breaking the law when she made the video and agrees with the changes.

‘EMI who took it down, they weren’t a victim in any sense of what we’ve done.

‘By the time we’d done that video the song Empire State of Mind was pretty old. It was long gone out of the charts so if anything all we did was raise the profile of the song and remind everyone what a great song it was.’

It is hoped the moves will benefit the UK economy, in part because individuals will be able to legally back up their music, films and e-books, encouraging the development of new technology.

It will clear the way for companies such as Google and Amazon to market online content storage systems for UK consumers, allowing them to create back-up files of their music and film libraries in a ‘cloud’ on the internet, so they can be retrieved even if their own computer or MP3 player is stolen or lost.

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