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Old 01-08-2008, 05:55 PM   #1
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Format Shifting - Soon Legal in the UK?

In the UK, as HarryT often reminds us, it's not legal to move content from one format to another - so things like ripping a CD to MP3 break copyright law.

However, a new proposal plans on enshrining the right to format shift. This would be much more clear than the current state of the law in the US, where format shifting has not been explicitly protected, nor ruled to be either legal or illegal.

Here's the story from Ars:

http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post...l-at-last.html
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Old 01-09-2008, 03:58 AM   #2
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Quite interestingly, the Minister for Intellectual Property seeks our (and those from corporate stakeholders) comments on the following questions:
  • What is meant by personal and private use?
  • How many format shifts should be allowed?
  • Would the exception apply to works created or purchased after the exception was introduced or would it be acceptable to format-shift back catalogs?
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Old 01-09-2008, 04:49 AM   #3
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It is funny.

There are plans for format shifting, just plans...and Brtish Music Industry already is complaing about a HUGE decrease in selling music albums - CDs, so they cannot even think what is going to happen if format shifting is allowed.
It was on radio today, morning news.
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Old 01-09-2008, 08:12 AM   #4
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We should just do whatever the rest of the EU do - it'd be less confusing for everybody.
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Old 01-09-2008, 08:22 AM   #5
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It's ridiculous (IMHO) to try and "criminalise" personal ripping of CDs. It's completely unenforceable, and everyone does it, the vast majority probably not even realising that it IS illegal in the first place.

The law needs to concentrate on distribution of illegal material, not people "format shifting" material that they've legitimately bought.

All just IMHO, of course.
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Old 01-09-2008, 12:31 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HarryT View Post
It's completely unenforceable, and everyone does it, the vast majority probably not even realising that it IS illegal in the first place.
That is exactly the case for uploading and downloading copyrighted material

Quote:
The law needs to concentrate on distribution of illegal material, not people "format shifting" material that they've legitimately bought.
What kind of illegal material do you have that is distributed? If you format shift something it is not illegal. So if you distribute it you do not distribute illegal material. So what are you talking about?
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Old 01-09-2008, 02:07 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alexander Turcic View Post
Quite interestingly, the Minister for Intellectual Property seeks our (and those from corporate stakeholders) comments on the following questions:
  • What is meant by personal and private use?
  • How many format shifts should be allowed?
  • Would the exception apply to works created or purchased after the exception was introduced or would it be acceptable to format-shift back catalogs?
That is very interesting. Especially the part about back catalogs - it seems to me that those are the best target for format-shifting, as people are more likely to have old media that they want to update to new media for various reasons (new formats, new devices, things going out of print...)
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Old 01-11-2008, 03:47 AM   #8
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That is exactly the case for uploading and downloading copyrighted material
No it's not. If I go and buy a CD and then rip it to my iPod, I've paid for the material. It's completely different from downloading it from the internet without paying for it. The stupid thing is, though, that under current UK law I am guilty of copyright infringement for both activities. That's crazy.

Quote:
What kind of illegal material do you have that is distributed? If you format shift something it is not illegal. So if you distribute it you do not distribute illegal material. So what are you talking about?
Huh? Sorry, you've entirely lost me there. Could you explain what you mean?
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Old 01-11-2008, 07:54 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by HarryT View Post
No it's not. If I go and buy a CD and then rip it to my iPod, I've paid for the material. It's completely different from downloading it from the internet without paying for it. The stupid thing is, though, that under current UK law I am guilty of copyright infringement for both activities. That's crazy.
What? You said "it's completely unenforceable, and everyone does it" and that was an argument for why a thing should not be illegal. The same holds for uploading and downloading copyrighted material so I think you are inconsistent.

Quote:
Huh? Sorry, you've entirely lost me there. Could you explain what you mean?
I do not know what "illegal material" means here. If I just saw it used without a specific context it would be something like child pornography that is illegal to possess in a lot of countries. I do not understand how you can call a copy of a film for illegal material.
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Old 01-11-2008, 08:03 AM   #10
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What? You said "it's completely unenforceable, and everyone does it" and that was an argument for why a thing should not be illegal. The same holds for uploading and downloading copyrighted material so I think you are inconsistent.
No. My argument for making format shifting legal is that it's clearly ridiculous to say to someone that, if they've legitimately bought a CD, they are committing a crime if they transfer the contents of that CD to an MP3 player. That's common sense.

It is equally obvious that if you upload those MP3 files to the Internet for anyone to download then you ARE committing a crime and should be prosecuted for it.

At present UK law makes the two actions essentially the same as far as their "illegality" goes. I think that's stupid, personally. Don't you?

Quote:
I do not know what "illegal material" means here. If I just saw it used without a specific context it would be something like child pornography that is illegal to possess in a lot of countries. I do not understand how you can call a copy of a film for illegal material.
"Illegal material" in the context in which I was using it means redistribution of material that you do not have permission from the copyright holder to redistribute.
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Old 01-11-2008, 08:15 AM   #11
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No. My argument for making format shifting legal is that it's clearly ridiculous to say to someone that, if they've legitimately bought a CD, they are committing a crime if they transfer the contents of that CD to an MP3 player. That's common sense.
Well, that was not what you wrote. And I still not get it why it is sensible to make it illegal to format shift (for your own purpose) a CD that you have stolen but not illegal to format shift a CD that you have bought. It is the theft that is the crime.

Quote:
"Illegal material" in the context in which I was using it means redistribution of material that you do not have permission from the copyright holder to redistribute.
Why do you not the write "illegal distribution". Why do you every time write "distribution of illegal material"? There is for me a very big difference between these two cases and mixing them up causes confusion.
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Old 01-11-2008, 08:22 AM   #12
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Well, that was not what you wrote. And I still not get it why it is sensible to make it illegal to format shift (for your own purpose) a CD that you have stolen but not illegal to format shift a CD that you have bought. It is the theft that is the crime.
I don't believe anyone's ever mentioned "stolen CDs" We're talking about the fact that it is currently illegal in the UK to transfer to an iPod or other MP3 player a CD that you have perfectly legitimately bought. That is clearly a ridiculous state of affairs and one that the law needs to address, which is what's being proposed by the government.
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Old 01-11-2008, 12:40 PM   #13
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I don't believe anyone's ever mentioned "stolen CDs" We're talking about the fact that it is currently illegal in the UK to transfer to an iPod or other MP3 player a CD that you have perfectly legitimately bought. That is clearly a ridiculous state of affairs and one that the law needs to address, which is what's being proposed by the government.
Well, you did. You said "
Quote:
No. My argument for making format shifting legal is that it's clearly ridiculous to say to someone that, if they've legitimately bought a CD, they are committing a crime if they transfer the contents of that CD to an MP3 player. That's common sense.
So if the word legitimately could be removed then your:
Quote:
It's ridiculous (IMHO) to try and "criminalise" personal ripping of CDs. It's completely unenforceable, and everyone does it,
is an argument that is applicable to uploading and downloading copyrighted material. Because as written it was ridicolous because of "It's completely unenforceable, and everyone does it".
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Old 01-11-2008, 12:52 PM   #14
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Tommy - let me say it once more, since you appear to be having difficulty in understanding me. Perhaps we have a language problem.

1. I go to a shop and buy a CD.
2. I rip the CD into MP3 files.
3. I copy these MP3 files onto my iPod

Currently, when I perform step 2 in the above process, I am committing a crime in the UK. The government is saying that they wish to change the law so that it will not longer be a crime. I think that this is a Good Thing.

Hope that's cleared up any confusion.
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Old 01-21-2008, 08:58 AM   #15
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Would eBook format shifting still be illegal (if it is at the moment)?
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