Channel 4 News is reporting that the British Government will put forward changes to the UK’s archaic copyright laws on Wednesday. Format shifting for both music and video is expected to become legal as will sharing with family. Parody works will gain protection.
The proposals will be announced by Vince
Clarke Cable, Business Secretary on Wednesday, and while file sharing using peer-to-peer and similar technologies will remain illegal, the legalisation of format shifting will allow companies like Amazon and Google to offer online music services which store copies of the owner’s music collection. This is currently illegal under British law which is why none of the current offerings are available here.
The protection to parody works (spoof music videos) is also good news as several popular songs such as Newport State of Mind have struggled to stay on-line in the UK where parody doesn’t have the protection it might in the US.
Overall, very welcome news for consumers in the UK and fingers crossed that the proposals don’t get too watered down before they become law. More news on Wednesday.