Copying of CDs, DVDs and Blu-rays for personal use will become legal in the UK from June 1st. The UK Government has issued a guide to the change in the copyright law which came about as a result of the Hargreaves Review in 2011.
Under the new law, it will become perfectly legal to make backup copies of CDs and films you own for your own personal use.
"Copyright law is being changed to allow you to make personal copies of media you have bought, for private purposes such as format shifting or backup," explains the UK's Intellectual Property Office (IPO). "The changes will mean you will be able to copy an album, film or book you have purchased for one device onto another without infringing copyright."
Legalising non-commercial copying for private use brings the UK into line with many other nations and also meets the "reasonable expectations" of consumers, the Government believes.
Under the new law consumers will also be able to legally store copies of their movies and music in the cloud. However, The Government says giving other people access to your digital files will remain illegal. And making copies of CDs, DVDs and Blu-rays at home for friends and family will also remain illegal.
If you want to give a CD to a friend or family member, then you should delete any personal copies you have made from it, says the Intellectual Property Office.
Interestingly, the IPO also says that if anti-copying technology such as Digital Rights Management (DRM) is too restrictive, consumers can raise a complaint with the Secretary of State. While it's easy to copy a CD, most DVDs and Blu-ray discs include copy protection, so it's harder to make copies. It will be interesting to see if the change in legislation forces the film studios to remove copy protection from DVDs/Blu-rays.
When the Hargreaves Review was first published, Lavinia Carey, director general of the British Video Association, said that allowing so-called format shifting would be "extremely damaging" and that "it’s for the rights owner to decide how to offer the [digital] copy".
You can find out more about the changes to UK copyright law on the Intellectual Property Office's website.
By Andy Clough