The government has accepted a number of changes to UK copyright law, including the ability to copy CDs and DVDs for personal use. Ripping CDs is nothing new, but what about copying films from DVDs?
One of the proposals includes making it legal to rip CDs and DVDs, as long as it’s for your personal or immediate family’s use.
We’ve ridiculed current copyright law before – why is it illegal to make a digital copy of something you’ve legitimately bought? People have been doing this for years – if they didn’t, iPods wouldn’t have taken off like they have.
Bringing law into the 21st Century
Thankfully the government has caught up – it finally wants to bring copyright law in line with the modern digital world. Not only do other countries have “fair use” policies for copying content, nobody in the UK has ever been prosecuted for copying CDs or DVDs for personal use.
However, it’s never been easy to rip films off DVDs. In fact, you’ll need to download “illegal” software to do so, due to all the copy protection slathered on to discs by movie studios.
This is unlike CDs, where we’ve all been able to rip music using software like Windows Media Player and iTunes. This raises the question – will the government’s final proposals actually include the ability to rip films and TV shows from DVDs?
And if not, wouldn’t it be a double standard to only allow this for music CDs? What’s so special or different about films?
Will anything actually change?
If the government actually enshrines these changes into copyright law, will movie studios be required to strip copy protection from their DVDs and Blu-rays in order to let us convert them into digital copies? Or maybe iTunes and other software will enable us to strip this encryption off ourselves?
The film industry is vehemently against format shifting, even for personal use, with Lavinia Carey, director general of the British Video Association, telling the Financial Times that it would be ‘extremely damaging’ and that ‘it’s for the rights owner to decide how to offer the [digital] copy’.
But perhaps film studios will simply have to accept these changes? Do you think you should be allowed to rip DVDs that you’ve legitimately bought for your personal use, and should film studios rethink their copy protection?