UK set to make ripping your CDs and DVDs legal
Although you weren't ever likely to be the subject of a dawn raid from the Sweeney for doing it, until now it has been illegal under UK copyright law to make copies of digital media.
From this summer though the government is changing the current legislation so that you'll be able to transfer music to your MP3 player or make backup copies of your movies without any risk of getting your collar felt.
In a guidance document for consumers released yesterday the Intellectual Property Office says, "Copyright law is being changed to allow you to make personal copies of media (CDs, ebooks etc) you have bought, for private purposes such as format shifting or backup". It goes on, "You will be permitted to make personal copies to any device that you own, or a personal online storage medium, such as a private cloud. However, it will be illegal to give other people access to the copies you have made, including, for example, by allowing a friend to access your personal cloud storage".
The government doesn't expect copyright holders to suffer significant harm from these changes, though they could generate extra revenue for technology companies such as those offering cloud storage.
At the same time new rules on "fair dealing" are being introduced to allow quotations and extracts to be used more widely. Currently quoting without permission is only allowed for criticism, review or news reporting. These provisions will also make it easier to use material for parody or pastiche without needing to gain permission from the rights holder.
The changes will come into force in June, so you still have a couple of months to enjoy the frisson that comes with an illegal rip.