The influential UK thinktank, Institute for Public Policy Research (ippr), announced on Sunday that they thought that UK copyright law should be updated to include a “private right to copy,” clause to legalising the personal copying of CDs to portable music players. They also recommend that there should be no extension to the current 50-years copyright term.
At present, people copying music or films from CDs or DVDs that they have bought, to their computers or portable devices for their own use is against the law. According to research carried out in May this year by the National Consumer Council, the majority of British citizens (59%) had no idea that by copying content they were breaking current copyright laws.
There is a upcoming review in the UK, Gowers Review of Intellectual Property, set up by Chancellor Gordon Brown and chaired by Andrew Gowers, which ippr says is an ideal opportunity to carry out the update to the 300 year old copyright law. The ippr believes the update would legalise the actions of millions of Britons without any significant harm to the copyright holders.
The report, Public Innovation: Intellectual property in a digital age, also recommends that:
The Government should reject calls from the UK music industry to extend copyright term for sound recordings beyond the current 50 years. The report argues that there is no evidence to suggest that current protections provided in law are insufficient.
The Government should act to ensure that Digital Rights Management (DRM) technology does not continue to affect the preservation of electronic content by libraries. The British Library should be given a DRM-free copy of any new digital work and libraries should be able to take more than one copy of digital work. It also recommends that circumvention of DRM technology should stop being illegal once copyright has expired.