The House of Lords has exempted format shifting from copyright laws. This finally legalises hardcopy media ripping for private use after many years of campaigning from groups including the Open Rights Group and DigitalEurope.
We reported on progress back in 2011, as plans for the government to abolish the laws which prevent UK consumers from format shifting looked to near to completion. Much more recently it was thought that that the new CD ripping rules were supposed to come into force across the board at the beginning of June, writes PC Pro.
The rule was only partially implemented back in June, allowing "disabled people and disability groups [to] make accessible copies of copyright material (eg music, film, books) when no commercial alternative exists". The holdup until today was apparently due to concerns the Lords had over how the new rules would affect the creative industries and the impact on creators' livelihoods.
Even though the changes now allow users to format shift their media content legally, some restrictions are still in place. The new ruling bans consumers from removing DRM or anti-copy technical protections in order to make duplicates of their media/content. However, the relaxation of the rules has been welcomed by digital campaigners.
"Thanks to these changes, the government has taken this significant step towards making copyright law reflect the way we actually use and share content in the digital age. Contrary to what copyright lobbyists claim, updating the law will actually benefit rights holders by ensuring we have a stronger, more legitimate copyright regime," executive director at the Open Rights Group, Jim Killock said.
"This is a victory for copyright reform, but I think all these questions around DRM need to be part of the discussion about copyright reform at the European level, which should be taking place very soon," policy director at the Open Rights Group, Javier Ruiz told PC Pro.
Lord (Michael) Grade, a former BBC chairman and former Chief Executive at Channel 4, doesn't seem to agree with the legalisation of format shifting, "What the Government has failed to understand throughout its deliberations on copyright, since the Hargreaves report, is there is a direct correlation between investment and the investor’s ability to control and police its copyright, to protect that investment and ensure that it gets value for the investment it has made," Grade said during a motion to the House of Lords, reports the Yorkshire Post. Grade added that the Government seems to be encouraging that "there should be a free-for-all, that everything should be made free for the public," before adding that "there is a public interest in that and it will last about five years because at the end of that there will be no more investment in original content."
In recent related news Ford and GM are being sued by the Alliance of Artists and Recording Companies (AARC) in the US for the CD ripping to hard drive 'Jukebox' systems in their cars. The suit seeks lost royalties plus punitive damages of $2,500 per vehicle sold with one of these music ripping systems installed.