Britain Urged to Update Copyright Laws

The Institute for Public Policy Research says the rules need updating for the iPod era, so consumers can copy their own CDs and DVDs without breaking the law

Copyright laws need to be updated or millions of people in the UK will continue to be unfairly classed as criminals, according to a leading think tank.

A report from the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) recommends that consumers should have a "private right to copy", allowing them to copy their own music legally.

Some copyright laws are as much as 300 years old and their legal interpretation means consumers who copy CDs and DVDs in order to transfer them to their iPods or equivalent media players are breaking the law.

Kay Withers, who researched and compiled the report for the IPPR, told this is a "key immediate issue for consumers" as "IP law affects absolutely everyone". She added that copyright law needs to be updated to come in line with public preferences for the way media is consumed.

The recommendations are aimed at a review of intellectual property which was set up by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Gordon Brown, last year and is due to report its findings in November.

Dr Ian Kearns, deputy director of the IPPR, said: "It is not the music industry's job to decide what rights consumers have. That is the job of the government."

The report also makes recommendations for the government to ignore calls to extend copyright terms for sound recordings as well as freeing libraries from the restrictions of digital rights management technology.

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