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Liberated IT: Digital media copying legalised in UK

Back at the end of March we reported that ripping your CDs and DVDs for personal use was about to be made legal in the UK.

Well, today's the day. You're now free to make backup copies of your discs and digital media such as MP3s, upload them to a personal cloud service like Amazon Cloud Player, or put material onto a portable player without fear that the authorities are about to come knocking. Welcome to the twenty-first century.

In fact you were never likely to find yourself in the dock just for ripping a CD, all this change does is to bring the law into the digital age. The Intellectual Property Office is, however, keen to emphasise that this isn't a file sharer's charter. "You will be permitted to make personal copies to any device that you own, or a personal online storage medium, such as a private cloud. However, it will be illegal to give other people access to the copies you have made".

The government estimates that the changes could be worth as much as £31 million a year for the technology industry from consumers buying products and services to help with their copying needs. The IPO says, "This measure will benefit technology firms (particularly SMEs) by removing barriers and costs and improving entry to technology markets which rely on consumers being able to make private copies. Using existing markets for MP3 players and DVR recorders as a proxy for future markets, we estimate that new technology markets reliant on private copying could generate £31m p.a. for UK firms".

If you’re in any doubt as to what all of this means for you there’s a handy PDF guide to the changes available from the IPO.

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