UK Copyright Law


So, August 2011 and the UK government announces  (here and more depth here) that the copyright law will be changing. With apologies for the spinning graphic, I thought I would indulge in a dual-blog posting (see Dr Who example post here) to give some ill-informed opinion. Not sure where this is going to take me so stay strapped in – this could be a bumpy ride!

Reality in the lead

Well here is a law that some extent or other most people have broken multiple times. The easiest example is the ripping of  a CD to MP3 format for your media player of choice (or in the dark ages taping an album on to cassette to listen to in the car); there is also recording of TV programmes and lending or giving tapes to friends so they can see a programme they missed. Copyright also affects books, software, films and a whole host of other parts of everyday life.

The problem has been that the law never caught up with technology nor the desire of society. This despite an update in 1988.

What next?

Well we are promised a law that matches our needs, this from something called the Hargreaves review. There is a thought that it will encourage art (the example given is the spoof Alicia Keys Newport: State of Mind video that was taken down from you-tube thanks to EMI complaining. Now I am sure there are counter examples of bad practice stopped by the old law but it is too late. The times they are a changing.

This may be the straw that finally breaks the back of the old style music industry which will have to move to a new funding regime to survive at some stage – hence already bands release few albums that don’t sell like they did in the 70s (e.g.). Instead more live events, celebrity nonsense and festivals. Internet radio / distribution will no doubt take advertising instead of forcing a pay per listen model though I can imagine subscriptions working in some cases.

As to books (see Kindle post here) this will no doubt have some impact though we need to think globally. It may well be true that more content can be made available.

Maybe we’ll also get an acceptable replacement for DRM / HD protection / Blu-Ray / multi-region DVD that actually allows an individual to have a right to watch a film in ‘reasonable circumstances’ without being penalised for wanting to watch a film where they are when they want. The right could be separated from the medium.

Maybe we just stream it from the cloud to wherever / whenever (as long as your broadband works where you are!)

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About Tony Jones
Big Finish writer, reviewer and blogger, I'm interested in science fiction and Doctor Who. I review for CultBox, The Doctor Who Companion and others. I am also Audio Drama editor for Starburst Magazine, and write the occasional piece for Vortex, the BSFA critical magazine.

2 Responses to UK Copyright Law

  1. Pingback: UK Copyright Law « Red Rocket Rising

  2. Pingback: Red Rocket Rising » UK Copyright Law

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