Print 31 comment(s) - last by marvdmartian.. on Dec 27 at 9:02 AM

Reform will make it legal to copy CDs to your iPod

The British government is on a path to significantly overhaul copyright laws within the country. The changes will significantly affect fair use, including the ability to shift content that consumers have purchased from one format to another. The most obvious improvement to UK copyright laws comes in the fact that it will be legal to copy music from a CD to your iPhone for instance.

That sort of copying from one format to another is what the British government is calling format shifting. Changes in the fair use policy within the UK will also grant a copyright exemption allowing copyrighted works to be used in parodies or caricatures.

The British government says, "[It will] allow limited copying on a fair dealing basis which would allow genuine parody, but prohibit copying disguised as parody."

The British government will put the Intellectual Property Office in charge of "clarifying areas where there is confusion or misunderstanding on the scope and application of copyright law."

Another area that copyright reform will affect is education and research where the existing IP laws made it somewhat illegal for teachers to show copyrighted material on interactive whiteboards and via distance learning systems. With the new copyright reforms, this sort of use will be specifically allowed. 

Source: Gigaom

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By chromal on 12/21/2012 12:44:31 PM , Rating: 1
Uh, what? It wasn't legal in the UK to rip CDs to iTunes? Pretty sure that's been settled over here in the US for a decade.

RE: huh
By Motoman on 12/21/2012 1:49:38 PM , Rating: 5
No, actually it isn't "settled" over here.

Since essentially the dawn of the tape recorder, it's been legal to make a copy of something you bought for your own, you could make a backup copy of that sweet ABBA cassette you bought in 1982. So long as you weren't giving or selling that copy to someone else, it was legal.

Fast forward a couple decades, and the Media Mafia bought a new law. They made it illegal to circumvent DRM...even if what you were doing was otherwise legal, like making a backup copy of a CD you bought at the store (which includes things like ripping your legally-bought CD to .mp3s to carry around on your laptop).

If you legally buy a CD, or any other format that has DRM on it of any kind, it is illegal to make a copy of that music/movie/whatever for your own use.

So, while the original law (still on the books) allows you to make such copies, the second law makes you a criminal if you do what the first law guarantees you the right to do. Assuming you bought a medium with DRM on it - and good luck finding something that isn't DRMd these days.

Anyone with half a brain in their head can see that it's DRM itself that should be illegal. It has a 100% failure rate - everything that's ever been published with DRM on it has been cracked. DRM has protected exactly ZERO things from being copied. Legally or illegally. DRM does nothing but punish the legitimate consumer. It adds cost to the product for the publisher and the consumer, and strips consumer rights away, all while doing absolutely nothing to prevent illegal piracy.

DRM adds lots of cost. DRM strips legitimate consumers of their rights. DRM does nothing to stop piracy. So...why, exactly, does DRM still exist?

Because we're f%cking stupid, that's why.

RE: huh
By Solandri on 12/21/2012 3:13:11 PM , Rating: 1
CDs don't have DRM. The audio is stored in a raw, uncompressed format. (Uncompressed so a CD would only hold about an hour of music - roughly the same as an LP album. They didn't want buyers expecting them to put on 2 hours of music per $18 disc. The joke was on them though since this stupidity is why MP3s with their much smaller file size caught on so quickly.)

RE: huh
By kyuuketsuki on 12/21/2012 5:13:13 PM , Rating: 2
Oh, so now using RAW on CDs was a conspiracy? Gimme a break. I don't recall albums being 2 hours long before CDs, either. Besides, it's pretty rare that I care for more than 3 or 4 tracks on an album, I hardly want to pay for 60 more minutes of filler tracks.

RE: huh
By Solandri on 12/22/2012 1:14:43 AM , Rating: 2
Yes it was a conspiracy. I was dabbling in sound compression algorithms around the time CDs first came out (a friend and I asked nicely and received an early build from the developer of what eventually became CELP - the granddaddy of voice compression algorithms used on cell phones today). So audio compression was foremost on my mind at the time.

I also listened to a lot of classical music, and there were a lot of complaints in classical music circles about CDs being uncompressed and 1 hour, when a trivial compression algorithm could've made it 2 hours. Classical performances frequently exceed 1 hour, and it's inconvenient breaking it across two discs. The folks behind the format officially had no comment, but unofficially said it was to keep the capacity about the same duration as an LP or 60 min cassette tape.

RE: huh
By kilkennycat on 12/23/2012 3:13:52 PM , Rating: 5
Some clarity required here.

1. The original "Red Book" audio CD was a Sony/Philips joint development. No DRM at all on the first 20 years or so of CD production. Sony and others made some ham-fisted attempts later. The CD audio format is 16-bit PCM @44.1kHz/sec The recorded format took the 16-bits, split it in 2 8-bit sequential chunks and piped it through an 8-bit to 14-bit Reed-Solomon encoder specifically designed to correct for Burst errors to generate the recorded pattern on the disk. Remember that the great marvel of the CD was the ability to actually PRESS a disk with pits just 0.5micrometers wide on a track pitch of 1.6micrometers. This pitch was comparable with the minimum line width of conductors on integrated circuits at that time. Error-correction for production blemishes took top priority. Un-correctable errors are handled by linear interpolation. I have some early disks with pressing blemishes visible under a low-power microscope. Still play fine...

2. When first proposed, the 16-bit@44.1kHz quantization caused a huge amount of angst at that time amongst Hi-Fi enthusiasts. Not enough bits and not enough bandwidth they said, although that guaranteed ~ 96db noise floor (compared to the 70db on vinyl) and about 18KHz analog bandwidth... far greater than that on vinyl, where the first pass of the needle of the player would wipe off these high-frequencies anyway.

I have a bunch of the very first classical CDs and you can hear for the first time the musician chairs scraping on the floor and the muffled coughs, all normally masked by the vinyl noise-floor. It took about a further year of recording-studio discipline to fix that set of problems. Any suggestion of compression was not acceptable to the 1983-1984 Hi-Fi enthusiasts at all -- 16-bit quantization was 'bad enough'. And remember they were a VERY powerful "lobby" at that time.

3. The design target which determined the final CD disk diameter of 120mm was Beethoven's Ninth Symphony -- 74 minutes. Target set at the highest level of Sony's management. BTW, almost all individual orchestral works occupy less than 74 minutes. Operas, cantatas etc. being the obvious exceptions and a disk change here at an appropriately selected point has minimum impact on continuity.

RE: huh
By BugblatterIII on 12/21/2012 6:00:47 PM , Rating: 3
Standard CDs don't, but many CDs have tried to prevent ripping:

By circumventing these measures chances are you'd be in contravention of the DMCA; if the copyright owner tries to prevent you doing something with the media you purchased then you're supposed to let them.

RE: huh
By Solandri on 12/22/2012 1:20:42 AM , Rating: 2
Within the context of this article, obviously we're talking about music CDs, not PC/Mac data CDs. Audio CDs don't have DRM.

I do remember a hybrid CD, which had both audio and data on it. It would try to trick the computer into thinking it was a data CD, while a CD player would ignore the data section and play just the music. But that wasn't really DRM (the music was still fully visible if your PC's CD-ROM drive didn't suck) and had the disadvantage of the music being unplayable on a computer, dooming it when laptops first became popular.

RE: huh
By BugblatterIII on 12/22/2012 5:35:48 AM , Rating: 3
Many audio CDs have had copy protection, probably the most famous type being Cactus Shield:

RE: huh
By Motoman on 12/21/2012 10:15:44 PM , Rating: 2
What are you talking about? CDs have had DRM for years...including one that was so dimly conceived that you could defeat it simply by holding the Shift key down on your PC as you put it in (to disallow the autorun).

RE: huh
By Solandri on 12/22/2012 1:25:12 AM , Rating: 1
You and the article talk about music CDs. Data CDs are irrelevant in that context. Audio CDs have never had and still do not have DRM. Ripping a song off a CD simply involves reading the data off of it, nothing more. In fact, the way you free an iTunes song from its DRM is to burn it to CD, then rip the CD.

The experience of the music industry and people ripping audio CDs was the whole reason the movie industry insisted on key-based DRM for DVDs.

RE: huh
By MrFlibble12 on 12/22/2012 4:31:42 AM , Rating: 2
I'm afraid that's just not correct. Whilst the underlying rainbow book standards might not support DRM on audio CDs, there have never-the-less been numerous attempts to foist some form of copy-protection onto audio CDs - typically this involves putting a data session on the end of the disc with some DRM'd or low quality audio files on it, and setting up the disc to exploit certain behaviours/characteristics of the way Windows reads CDs so that Windows doesn't see the audio session, only the data one. There was even a feature on the BBC's consumer program "Watchdog" about it, as the discs wouldn't play in a Windows PC. I believe the names of two such schemes were "Cactus" and "Midline". Heck, I've even seen albums with warnings on them saying they incorporated copy protection.

Examples would include Natalie Imbruglia's album (the one with her most famous track - can't remember the name), as well as several other "pop" albums (e.g. Avril Lavigne's 2nd album).

RE: huh
By MrFlibble12 on 12/22/2012 4:41:32 AM , Rating: 2
Oops ... forgot to say, yes, the audio data itself isn't encypted - it's still "raw", and if you can read it you can extract it - it's the disc format that's being monkeyed with. However, the net result is the same (not being able to play/copy the disc), and therefore the audio CD can be thought of as having DRM.


(although by adding data onto the end of it, it's not technically and audio CD any more, most people will regard it as being one)

RE: huh
By Motoman on 12/22/2012 10:23:23 AM , Rating: 2
You are horrifically mistaken. I have a number of CDs in my collection that have DRM on them that prevent casual ripping to .mp3.

Which is one reason why I stopped buying music a long time ago.

RE: huh
By ResStellarum on 12/22/2012 8:12:41 AM , Rating: 2
Well said Motoman. I agree 100%. For far too long now, the copyright law agenda in the UK has been set by the MAFIAA. Even things like format shifting, that everyone does, is still deemed illegal. But realistically, what good does a law do if no one abides by it. It's just like telling people who smoke pot that they're breaking the law. We all do it anyway, rendering the law pointless.

RE: huh
By Uncle on 12/22/2012 1:09:20 PM , Rating: 2
"and good luck finding something that isn't DRMd these days." Thats why I download my backups from torrents, their not DRMd and most of the time I try to get Flac. I really appreciate the effort others are going through to help us get decent backups of my old cd's which are probably going to fail because of their age. I see were going back to albums in some of the stores, I havn't bought any since I have the originals from 40 to 50 yrs ago. Are the new albums DRMd.:):)

RE: huh
By marvdmartian on 12/27/2012 9:02:08 AM , Rating: 2
Nice to see the UK actually relaxing one of its overbearing laws, instead of passing a new one! Seriously, are people so uptight over there, that they continue to re-elect the politicians passing such restrictive laws??

RE: huh
By ipay on 12/21/2012 2:06:23 PM , Rating: 2
"Well, there may be a reason why they call them 'Mac' trucks! Windows machines will not be trucks." -- Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer
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