New Zealand Government Makes Transferring Music Files “Fair Use”

Long since regarded as progressive, New Zealand’s copyright laws are about to have a small revision: format shifting (transferring content from one media to another, or to another device) is to be defined as fair use. Record companies are howling that this will make everyone pirates – and is a good indicator, that secretly, they don’t want you moving media at all – they want consumers to buy a version for each device they want to play it on.

It’s already legal to sell or give away a piece of media you have a license for – so you could sell that music track you bought off iTunes without any trouble.

Under current legislation, all copying, even for personal listening is illegal – but the Economic Development Ministry want to make it legal to make a copy for personal use. The change will possibly be implemented in the middle of the year.

The recording industry claims that 10 million CDs are pirated every year in the country – quite a bold estimate given that the entire country only has 3.7 million inhabitants. We think they might be a little on the high side.

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Fraser Lovatt

Fraser Lovatt has spent the last fifteen years working in publishing, TV and the Internet in various capacities, and believes that they will be seperate platforms for at least a while yet. His main interests at the moment are exploring where Linux is taking home entertainment and how technology is conferring technical skills on more and more people. Fraser Lovatt was born in the same year that 2001: A Space Odyssey was delighting and confusing people in the cinemas, and developed a lifelong love of technology as soon as he realised that things could be taken apart, sometimes put back together again, but mostly left in bits or made into something the original designer hadn't quite planned upon. At school he was definitely in the ZX Spectrum/Magpie/BMX camp, rather than the BBC Micro/Blue Peter/well-behaved group. This is all deeply ironic as he later went on to spend nine years working at the BBC. After a few years of working as a bookseller in Scotland, ("Back when it was actually a skilled profession" he'll tell anyone still listening), he moved to England for reasons he can't quite explain adequately to himself. After a couple of publishing jobs punctuated by sporadic bursts of travelling and photography came the aforementioned nine years at the BBC where he specialised in internet technologies and video. These days his primary interests are Java, Linux, videogames and pies - and if they're not candidates for convergence, then what is?