Catching up with modern technology: UK copyright law faces overhaul
The changes are not final yet, but recommendations for new copyright rules include making it legal for people to transfer their own CDs onto their MP3 players. Did you know this was illegal? The fact that most people probably would answer “no” to that question is testament to how outdated the rule is.
The UK’s copyright laws need to be overhauled to keep up with how technological advances are affecting how we interact with music, film and media, according to an independent review published today. The Hargreaves Independent Review of IP and Growth, commissioned by the government, recommends allowing the transfer of own music files, as well as using new music sharing services such as the Amazon Cloud Drive.
The issue of personal data transfers is not the only thing facing an overhaul; technological innovation will also likely benefit if the changes are accepted. Google has in the past said how it could never have started business in the UK, as copyright laws would have stood in the way.
The recommended new rules include easing the access to “orphan works”, which is a piece of music or a book where the author cannot be traced. This usually applies to archive materials, where any confusion about authorship would mean the item is off limits for use. Loosening these rules would make it easier to make new versions, parodies and spin-offs, and the BBC and the British Film Institute are among those that would benefit from a change in this rule.
The Hargreaves report also recommends the creation of an online copyright shop, where all copyrighted material such as music and film can be traded online.
Speaking to the Daily Telegraph, Neil Allcock, a licensing specialist at Deloitte, said: “The creative industries will react in two ways: they will say the measures are a good idea but that they are very hard to implement.”
Maybe so, but it sounds like it needs doing.