Under the current 1988 copyright law, it is illegal to transform one piece of copyrighted content from one storage form to another. However, under the planned changes announced by the UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO), ‘ripping’ content from purchased CDs and DVDs for use on mobile devices (e.g. MP3 players) will be legalised.
The same also goes for any book or film; if bought for one device they can be copied to be used on another without infringing copyright provided the content is owned by the person making the copy and that the copy is made for personal use.
According to the IPO’s guide:
“The changes make small, but important reforms to UK copyright law and aim to end the current situation where minor and reasonable acts of copying that benefit consumers, society and the economy are unlawful. They also remove a range of unnecessary rules and regulations from the statute book in line with the government’s aim to reduce regulation.”
The IPO also stated that some media is protected by anti-copying technology to guard against copyright piracy, which is protected by law. This protection will still be allowed to be applied, but if the copy restriction is too restrictive, consumers can complain to the secretary of state.
Before these regulations can be approved the must be debated in both Houses of Parliament. Assuming they are passed, they could come into force as early as 1st June 2014.
Remember, despite these changes it remains illegal to make copies of content for use by other people, to copy rented or streamed content and to copy content downloaded illegally from file-sharing websites.