PM Cameron’s government remains committed to lifting copying restrictions for all, as soon as Parliament agrees.
The UK government has been promising for some time to lift restrictions on copying DVDs, MP3 and CDs, allowing people to back up their data as they see fit so long as it’s kept for personal use only. This significant change to copyright law was supposed to be in place by the summer, but there’s been some delay on that front, and Parliament has yet to issue its seal of approval. However the government has announced that the disabled and disability groups can “now make accessible copies of copyright material (eg music, film, books) when no commercial alternative exists.”
Academics have also been given a significant boost, with text and data mining restrictions removed on non-commercial research, and archives no longer have to keep only physical copies of copyrighted material. However the ordinary citizen has yet to benefit, as planned exceptions for private copy, parody and quotation have yet to be implemented.
The government has said it remains committed to the principle, and there’s a financial incentive: the UK hopes to save £250 million over the next ten years from changes to copyright law. At the moment this benefit is largely coming from a reduction in public body archival costs; all that pesky physical data can vanish onto the internet, or at least so goes the theory. Libraries and museums will also be able to save up to £26 million a year in storage costs, the government anticipates.
The government is working towards a world in which a private citizen can “make personal copies to any device that you own, or a personal online storage medium, such as a private cloud,” according to the Intellectual Property Office, and if it’s not there yet, the IPO hopes it will be a reality soon. When that happens it estimates the tech sector will make a further £31 million a year revenue, as people turn to it for services and products to assist copying.
Always assuming of course that the consumer hasn’t already got something along those lines hidden on his or her hard drive. Heaven, and the copyright holders, forbid.