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Video mash-ups and song parodies to be legalised (just as long as they are funny)
Copyright 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
16:29 GMT, 21 December 2012
Film companies and record labels will not be able to force mash-ups and spoofs to be taken down from the internet under a major shake-up of copyright law.
Ministers have vowed to legalise parodies after countless viral hits have disappeared from sites like YouTube because multi-national firms failed to see the funny side.
It also means the creators of hits like the countless parodies of the Hitler film Downfall, Cassetteboy's mash-ups of TV shows and the genius behind the Masterchef Synthesia (buttery biscuit base) will no longer be breaking the law by copying and editing popular TV shows.
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Parodies of the 2004 film Downfall are now so widespread online there is even one which shows Hitler's fury at the number of spoof versions
The shake-up, ordered by Lib Dem Vince
Cable, also means the hilarious video of his boss Nick Clegg 'singing'
his tuition fees apology would be freed from copyright control.
The government argues 300-year-old laws have failed to keep pace with online technology, which makes it easy for anyone with a computer to create smash hit videos online.
It means internet successes will no longer be killed off by complaints by global entertainment giants.
Last year a Greenpeace spoof of an advert for VW was pulled after a complaint from the car firm. It complained about the manufacturer's commitment to being green.
Mash-up creators like Cassetteboy have long run the risk of breaching copyright laws by editing clips from TV shows like the Apprentice and documentaries by Boris Johnson to comic effect.
This summer Mr Clegg became an
internet sensation after filming an apology for breaking his promise to
vote against a rise in tuition fees.
Ross from comedy website The Poke re-edited it to music, so it sounded
like the Deputy Prime Minister was singing his regret to voters.
securing permission from Mr Clegg, the song was released as a single
ahead of the Lib Dem annual conference – but only reached 143 in the
official charts. Proceeds went to Sheffield Children's Hospital.
VIDEO: Masterchef Synthesia mash-up has been watched 5.8million times
Mr Cable, the Business Secretary, told MPs: 'The creative industries sector, which is crucial to the economy, depends heavily on intellectual property rights.
'However, we are dealing with a body of law that is extremely old – I believe that it goes back to Queen Anne. It certainly needs modification in the digital age.'
The 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’.
The changes to copyright laws will also mean music users who copy CDs to iPods and laptops will no longer be treated as criminals.
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.
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.
Users will be able to copy music and ebooks between devices without breaking the law under the shake-up of copyright
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.
The 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 other people.
The government has also ruled out imposing an ‘iTax’ on all music storage devices, despite being levied across much of Europe.
Mr Cable has refused to follow other EU countries that have imposed a copyright levy – dubbed an ‘iTax’ – on any technology that can copy, including iPods, computers and photocopiers.
For 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.
It puts Britain at loggerheads with Brussels, where EU officials are drawing up plans for a Europe-wide iTax, due to be announced within weeks. Mr Cable is refusing to back the idea of an EU levy set centrally by Brussels.
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.
.VIDEO. Selection of 5 top internet parody videos…
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