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UK makes disc ripping legal, won't require site blocking

updated 11:05 am EDT, Wed August 3, 2011

UK copyright law updated to reflect 'reality'

Vince Cable, the United Kingdom's Business secretary, has announced major changes to that country's copyright law concerning digital media. The government will legalize "format shifting," or allowing consumers to rip content from CDs and DVDs for personal use. The government will also reverse part of last year's Digital Enforcement Act, which would have blocked websites for hosting copyrighted material. Cable said the law needed to change to conform to reasonable expectations of consumers. "We've got to bring law in line with reality," he said.

Millions of UK consumers regularly convert music and movies into digital format, although most may not know it is technically illegal. Many other countries, including the US and most European countries, allow format shifting for private use.

It would still be illegal to make copies and share them online.

The changes are based on a review of UK copyright law's relevance for the digital age. Cable said the changes would allow consumers and businesses to operate more freely, protect genuinely creative artists, and penalize pirates.

Response to the changes has been mixed. ISPs had been concerned about the blocking provisions, which would have allowed copyright owners to force them to cut off some sites. UK Music, represents musicians and record labels in the UK, was critical of the decision. CEO Fergal Sharkey claimed the changes would force most music businesses and artists to spend "millions" on legal fees to protect their work. [via BBC News]

by MacNN Staff



  1. darkelf

    Joined: Dec 1969



    if the music industry hates it, its probably at about the right place.

  1. Feathers

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Do Mr. Sharkey's comments have any subtle undertones?

  1. jfgilbert

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Yes, William

    "...the changes would force most music businesses and artists to spend "millions" on legal fees to protect their work."
    As opposed to the government spending millions of taxpayers money on pointless enforcement to protect your failing business. But not to worry, with a name like Sharkey and your association with the MAFIAA, you must know a lot about the protection business.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: Yes william

    Actually, it was the gov't who would have to spend money. The music industry would simply file a complaint with the ISP. The ISP could lawyer up and fight it, but they wouldn't want to spend the money. So they'd just close down sites without really checking for infringement. So the industry saves tons on legal fees by not having to go to court.

    Now they'll have to go after - gasp - the actual violators. It's like going to a flea market and having the organizers close down tables for alleged infringement (which they'd do because they don't want to go to court), instead of actually persuing the vendors directly and individually.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Hello UK residents.

    Welcome to the 1990s!

  1. solefald

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Ripping what? CD's? oh yes, I remember buying one of those overpriced things... BACK IN 1995!

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