Private copying under threat? Government delays legalising ripping from CDs

A House of Lords discussion regarding a copyright law exception that would finally allow people to legally copy music from a CD to their computer or phone has been delayed.

Private copying under threat? Government delays legalising ripping from CDs

A House of Lords select committee met yesterday to the new copyright law ahead of its rollout in June, following the Hargreaves review, which recommended a set of changes to update intellectual property rules.

One of the five points that was supposed to be discussed was allowing personal copying for private use – in other words, letting people copy music or other content they’ve paid for from a CD to another device.

That change wasn’t discussed yesterday as expected, leading to concerns from MPs and IP bloggers that the private copying exception was going to be changed or possibly even removed.

However, the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) said the exception – as well as one regarding parody – was merely pushed back because of time constraints. It’s now expected to be discussed 14 May.

“The government remains committed to implementing the personal copying and parody exceptions to copyright law as soon as possible,” the IPO told PC Pro. “The regulations have not been withdrawn.”

Update: Intellectual Property Minister Lord Younger has issued a statement on the delay, saying the committee has questions around the exceptions for private copying and parody – and that will delay the changes to the law.

“It is not unusual for the Committee to want to spend more time considering SIs, but it will have implications for the timetable given where we are in the parliamentary cycle. It is likely to mean these two SIs are implemented later than 1 June 2014,” the statement said.

“While this delay is disappointing for both the government and many of our stakeholders, the government remains firmly committed to implementing each of these important exceptions to copyright law as soon as possible,” he added.

Change concerns

The concerns around the delay follow an Early Day Motion filed by SNP MP Pete Wishart, and signed by 12 others, which “calls on the Government to withdraw these draft regulations and re-lay them in amended form to ensure that the creative content-producing sector does not suffer harm”.

One of the suggestions in the motion is that the current proposal doesn’t reimburse artists or rights holders for the copying, saying that it “will represent a transfer of value from rights holders to the technology industry”.

The idea is that music or film prices could be increased with a levy to dole out to rights holders to compensate for lost sales. However, as IP lawyer Alberto Bellan pointed out on the IPKat site, copying and storing is already taking place “without any compensation for the rights holder”.

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