People who have bought music and films will be legally entitled to put them onto multiple devices, such as music players, smartphones and tablets
People will be able to legally copy digital media for personal use as a result of important changes planned for UK copyright law.
Speaking today at a press briefing at the British Library, Secretary of State Vince Cable said implementing the recommendations for fair usage for consumers outlined in the Hargreaves report "was in line with common sense".
Currently making personal copies of music and movies to use on different devices, known as format shifting, is a commonplace practice, despite being illegal.
No-one has ever been prosecuted for this and Cable said the change in the law would allow consumers to legally use the technology and applications they own for the media they have bought.
What is not clear is the extent this right to copy for personal purposes will reach. The term "limited" was used and details of whether people will be limited to the number of copies they can make, types of devices and if they will be able to upload content to the cloud still need clarification.
Consumer Focus voiced concern that the new rights may bring financial penalities for consumers through taxes on devices. At the briefing it was said that there were no plans to introduce such measures.
In some EU member states, a tax is placed on devices such as DVD and MP3 players at the point of sale. This pushes up the price of these goods and the additional revenue used to compensate rights holders.
Mike O'Connor, chief executive at Consumer Focus, said: "This is a long-awaited victory for common sense. Copyright law is outdated; it does not reflect the way people use music, films and ebooks today and hinders innovation and economic growth.
"This announcement is very welcome and will give customers the rights they expect in using the film and music they buy. It brings us closer to a digital marketplace which supports economic growth and balances the rights of consumers and copyright owners."
Digital Economy Act implementation
It was also announced at the briefing that the Government now plans to "accelerate" implementation of the Digital Economy Act (DEA).
Ed Vaizey, Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries, said he expected that the first notification letters to alleged illegal file sharers are expected to be sent out in 2013.
"There is a danger of setting dates for anything with the Digital Economy Act," he said.
People accused of illegal file sharing, will have to pay £20 to appeal any decision as a deterrent to people launching "vexatious appeals" that could "disrupt the system".
This fee will be refundable if they are exonerated by the independent body the Government has said will be put in place.
Web blocking plans outlined in section 17 of the DEA have been shelved; at least for now. Vaizey said the Government had taken Ofcom's advice that the current measures to do this were "complicated" and unworkable.
He added that this didn't mean web blocking may not be resurrected, saying the Government had to "go back and think again" about any proposed measures.
It will also make no difference to legal decisions such as the High Court ruling that will force BT to block file sharing site Newzbin2.
Vaisey said this ruling was made against an "agregious site" and the Motion Picture Association (MPA) took the case to court using section 97A of the UK Copyright and Designs Patents Act.
"It will be up to rights holders to consider the implications of this judgement and decided how to use it," said Vaisey.
Peter Bradwell, campaigner at the Open Rights Group, said the "Government should be applauded for wanting to modernise our copyright laws by following the Hargreaves Review recommendations"; but warned there were still serious issues that needed to be sorted out.
"There are some discordant notes in plans for the Digital Economy Act. In particular charging people £20 to appeal against copyright warnings is unfair. The evidence against alleged infringers is likely to be unreliable.
"The Government should follow the Intellectual Property Office's new IP crime strategy and rebuild its copyright enforcement policy from scratch, driven by evidence and a proper, public consultation."
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