The UK government is backing plans to legitimize the copying of music as part of an effort to overhaul copyright laws to make them fit for purpose in the digital age.
Business secretary Vince Cable today gave the thumbs up to plans that make it legal for consumers to transfer music from a CD to PCs and MP3 players, in response to criticism that few members of the public realize they are breaking the law by doing so currently.
The move is the first step towards updating copyright laws in the country, after a review called for a relaxation of current legislation covering music and video transfers between multiple devices. The review was ordered by prime minister David Cameron, who fears outdated laws are stifling innovation in the country.
Reforms recommended in the review – led by Professor Ian Hargreaves – could boost the UK economy by £7.9 billion (€9 billion), official figures reveal.
“We are accepting the recommendations and will now set about reforming the UK’s intellectual property systems. Opening up intellectual property laws can deliver real value to the UK economy as well as the creators and consumers,” Cable explains.
Other aspects of the review being implemented include establishing a digital copyright exchange marketplace; exceptions allowing artists to parody their peers; permission to access copyrighted data for research purposes; and the establishment of licensing procedures for so-called ‘orphaned’ literature.
However, the government is also acting to clamp down on illegal file sharing by fleshing out details of warning letters that will be sent to users found to be accessing copyrighted material without permission.
Users will be charged £20 if they appeal the notifications, in a bid to prevent the system being crashed by protests for protest’s sake.