The really amazing thing about this story is that it's even taken this long for the discussion to get this far. In the US, it's legal for people to take a CD they own and make a personal copy of it (assuming the CD doesn't have DRM, at which point you run into problems with the DMCA anti-circumvention rules). However, in the UK and a few other places, music fans aren't so lucky. The very act of ripping your CD so you can listen to it on your iPod is illegal. Now, a think-tank is recommending that the laws be updated to allow personal copying -- which is perfectly reasonable. What's interesting, though, is that they note that allowing personal copying actually could benefit the recording industry's battle. They argue that in keeping private copying illegal (and, thus, making criminals out of a large percentage of the country), people are much less likely to respect any copyright law -- since they all get lumped into the ridiculous pile. One other interesting aspect of the report is that it takes on the debate concerning the right for libraries to archive content. In this case, it recommends that "the British Library should be given a DRM-free copy of any new digital work and that libraries should be able to take more than one copy of digital work." Given the earlier debate, somehow it seems unlikely the entertainment industry is going to agree to that one willingly.
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