UK Intends to Legalize CD Ripping for Personal Use

Paul Lilly

In Britain, ripping music CDs to transfer songs onto portable media players or mobile phones is an act that runs afoul of the law. Lucky for U.K. residents, government officials are open to overhauling copyright law with an emphasis on common sense, two things that don't always go together. Britain's business secretary Vince Cable said new legislation will make it legal to copy CDs for personal use, which is one of 10 recommendations made in the Hargreaves Report, a six-month independent review into Intellectual Property (IP) led by Professor Ian Hargreavees.

"This brings the law into line with, frankly, common sense," Cable said, according to a report in the U.K.'s Guardian . "A lot this has to do with consumer freedom. We need to have a legal framework that supports consumer use rather than treat it as regrettable. We can't say that businesses should embrace technology but say to consumers they can't use technology for products they have paid for."

Cable stopped short of outlining how the new IP rules will affect users tapping into cloud services who may want to backup their online library to offline devices and other scenarios, though he did talk about the need to curtail illegal file sharing.

"Music and film makers have to be able to take effective and justified measures," Cable said. "The basic philosophy is we do recognize the need for protection, but it has to be protection that's proportionate to needs and based on evidence."

As such, Britain is reevaluating current plans introduced by the Digital Economy Act to block illegal file sharing sites, which government officials feel is too unwieldy.

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