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UK Copyright Law Shake-up

Two big pieces of copyright news broke over the weekend - both of which could affect you. Firstly is the re-criminalisation of ripping your own CDs to make MP3 copies. For the last year it's been legal in the UK to 'format shift' as long as you weren't circumventing DRM restrictions - in the case of CDs this mean that, for the most part, taking an album and adding it to your iTunes library was legal; given you've paid for the CD already this is really pretty reasonable. The music industry doesn't think so and has convinced the UK courts to overturn the regulatory changes that allowed this meaning anyone who rips their CDs to their PCs is gain under risk of prosecution.

Futhermore, reports today are suggesting that UK government is looking to increase the possible maximum jail term for those who infringe copyright. Cameron and co clearly don't think our prisons are utilised nearly as much as they can be so have decided to increase occupation by putting people who download the latest Chipmunks movie in prison for a decade. OK, that's probably a little bit more extreme than the reality will be and the consultation looks to be targeting those who make money from copyright infringement (ie the Torrent sites that seed this content) under the pretense that those involved in this level of infringement are likely to be involved in other criminal activities.

That won't do a lot to set the minds of those who have received threatening legal letters for downloading the Robert Redford film, The Company You Keep, at ease.

We'll be watching the copyright reform consultation closely to see how the proposals finally make it to our law books.

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