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Copying CDs to iPods to be made legal as Britain vows to block Europe's 'iTax' on all music gadgetsCopyright law shake-up to make it easier to transfer files between devicesiPod and e-book users will not be criminalised if copy is for personal useRecord companies will not be able to block song parodies
20:55 GMT, 20 December 2012
Music users who copy CDs to iPods and laptops will no longer be treated as criminals under a major shake-up of copyright laws.
The government has also ruled out imposing an ‘iTax’ on all music storage devices, despite being levied across much of Europe.
And record companies will no longer be able to block parodies of songs by their biggest artists, clearing the way for spoof videos to go viral.
Ministers will scrap the law which means it is technically illegal for someone to copy a CD or ebook on to an iPod or Kindle.
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Users will be able to copy music and ebooks between devices without breaking the law under the shake-up of copyright. Business Secretary Vince Cable (right) said the 'common sense' changes would clear the way for more spoofs
Most of the millions of people using mobile music devices have no idea they are unwittingly breaking the law every time they move a song from one device to another.
Six years ago, the British Phonographic Industry said it would not seek to punish people, provided they were only copying tracks for their personal use.
But only now have the government agreed to change the law to keep pace with technology, which sees people regularly swapping and copying files between devices and software like iTunes.
change means users will be able to copy files as many times as they
like for their own use, but it will still be illegal to give copies to
Business Secretary Vince Cable has ruled out following other EU
countries that have imposed a copyright levy – dubbed an ‘iTax’ – on any
technology that can copy, including iPods, computers and photocopiers.
example, in France, a 64GB iPod is hit with an iTax of 15 euros. In
Poland the charge is added to anything which can be used to make a copy,
including blank paper.
puts Britain at loggerheads with Brussels, where EU officials are
drawing up plans for a Europe-wide iTax, due to be announced within
Mr Cable is refusing to back the idea of an EU levy set centrally by Brussels.
He said the changes were ‘common sense’ for the public but could also be good for business too.
the law into line with ordinary people’s reasonable expectations will
boost respect for copyright, on which our creative industries rely,’ he
‘We feel we have struck the right balance between improving the way consumers benefit from copyright works they have legitimately paid for, boosting business opportunities and protecting the rights of creators.’
Rules on using well-known songs for parodies will also be changed, clearing the way for a slew of spoof videos which record companies can do nothing about.
Teachers will be able to use more material on interactive whiteboards without getting permission from copyright holders
New rules on ‘parody, caricature and pastiche’ set out by the government will ‘allow limited copying on a fair dealing basis which would allow genuine parody, but prohibit copying disguised as parody’.
A raft of changes will make it easier for people to use work covered by copyright without getting permission from the copyright owners.
Teachers will be able to use more material on interactive whiteboards and share files across secure networks for students.
Sound recordings, films and broadcasts can also be copied for non-commercial research and private study purposes.
Under existing legislation a breach of copyright can be punishable by up to two years in prison or a fine of 5,000.
Mike O’Connor, chief executive of Consumer Focus, said: ‘It is not before time that a private copying exception is built into law. When consumers have paid for music or other digital material, they should be allowed to copy it for their own use.
'It is absurd that private copying such as transferring a CD into an MP3 format is copyright infringement under current UK law.'