Rights & Wrongs 1: Copying CD’s made legal, world keeps turning

Intellectual property minister, Lord Triesman, has presented a proposal to legalize the ripping and re-burning of CDs to a home computer (nice!) 

Acknowledging the currently illegal – but commonplace – practice of ripping CDs, Lord Triesman has recommended the laws be changed to ‘keep up with the times’ (nice spin!)

According the BBC, the changes would apply only to people copying music for personal use – meaning multiple copying and internet file-sharing would still be banned… owners would not be allowed to sell or give away their original discs once they have had made a copy.(riiiiiiight!)

The BPI has supported the move as a means of clarifying the law for consumers but, as ever, warned that the changes should not damage the rights of record companies. (okay)

Let’s be clear. This is the adaptation of existing laws which date back 20 years, designed to prevent the misuse of cassette and VHS tapes. The change in the law merely shows that legislation cannot handle current practice – it’s simply folded to consumer demand.

Instead of prosecuting the individuals ripping the CDs, the authorities will now chase those distributing and sharing online – an equally futile task, only marginally more enforceable.

This move will simply fuel the decline of the record labels. With artists everywhere recognising they can survive quite happily without paying their 12.5% to EMI et al. The money’s to be made from touring and merchandise, not CD sales; artists can distribute albums online at a fraction of the cost and cut out the thrid party costs. The move to legalise CD ripping effectively removes the last leg the labels had to stand on. 

Read the rest at the FT, after the jump

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