Ripping your media is now legal in the UK, but not US

Sections: Audio, HTPC, Streaming, Video

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Ripping CDsA ruling has finally come down that citizens of the UK are now permitted to rip media of any kind for their own personal use. Previously, all copying had been expressly forbidden by the courts, even the more benign actions. This new ruling exempts anyone other than the one who purchased it from possessing a copy, or an individual making copies for friends and family.This ruling will honk off media companies to no end, especially the new rule about overly restrictive DRM schemes:

Intriguingly, the IPO says that if anti-copying technology (DRM) is too restrictive, consumers can raise a complaint with the Secretary of State. This has been part of the law for more than 25 years (in Section 296ZE of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988), but with the new exceptions, there may be more cause for complaint. If a user complains that they cannot benefit from the exception due to a “technological measure” (DRM), the Secretary of State is empowered to “give directions to copyright owners to enable the complainant to benefit from it.” That is to say that a movie studio may be forced to make it easier for individuals to copy their DVDs for personal use.

Such a ruling would be welcome in the United States for companies like Kaleidescape, which, thanks to theDigital Millennium Copyright Act, is forced to require users to download disc images from their servers instead of ripping them locally. While lobbying by media creation companies will likely keep this from happening in the US for quite some time, the British experiment will provide much needed data on how the free use of tools by average citizens without fear of the law effects piracy and sharing rates. My guess? It’ll barely move the needle, because those who want the ripping tools already know where to find them, and those that don’t probably won’t start looking now. Brits can start ripping freely starting June 1, 2014.


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