UK Copyright Reform Will Significantly Affect Fair Use
December 21, 2012 11:53 AM
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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
, 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.
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12/22/2012 1:14:43 AM
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.
12/23/2012 3:13:52 PM
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
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.
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