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UK Gov't Plans To Give 'Greater Freedom To Use Copyright Works' 48

Posted by Soulskill
from the what's-yours-is-mine dept.
crimperman writes "The U.K. government is planning to change their copyright laws to give 'greater freedom' on usage. The Dept. for Business Innovation and Skills say the new measures 'include provisions to allow copying of works for personal use parody and for the purposes of quotation.' (There is currently no 'fair use' law in the U.K.) They also say the provisions 'allow people to use copyright works for a variety of ... purposes without permission from the copyright owners,' and 'bring up to date the provisions for education use.' A sensible copyright law from the U.K.? What are the chances of this getting through?"
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UK Gov't Plans To Give 'Greater Freedom To Use Copyright Works'

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  • Once again, western countries are playing catch-up to China.

    • by Jetra (2622687)
      We're not behind the times, we just blatantly choose to stick to our archaic laws because we think they are safer. On a side note, why is every word I type being underlined as mispelled?
    • by Dupple (1016592)

      What the summary doesn't mention is that in some European countries this is already because consumers are forced to pay an extra tax on blank CDs and digital music players which goes to the music companies (note I don't mention the artists)

      This will probably come to the UK at some point I'd imagine as laws across states are harmonised

  • Ying and yang (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tx (96709) on Friday December 21, 2012 @12:02PM (#42360219) Journal

    It's like they had to balance out the stupid lame, half-baked porn filter [theweek.co.uk] law they just announced with something that actually made a bit of sense. Although knowing our government as I do, I'll wait until I've seen the small print, before I assume that the headlines are actually in tune with the reality of the proposals.

  • by gnasher719 (869701) on Friday December 21, 2012 @12:04PM (#42360245)
    First, they want to change laws that make basically everybody in the UK a criminal. It seems that when you buy a CD, ripping it onto your Mac makes you a criminal, downloading it onto your iPod makes you a criminal again. Same when you download music from Amazon and put that onto your iPod (or your Android phone, doesn't make a difference). Clearly if everyone went to jail who did that, then the only ones left outside would be half a dozen pensioners. (On the other hand, if all those criminals who happen to be judges were taken to court first, then the whole thing wouldn't work).

    The other thing that the government wants is to make it easier for businesses to use other people's work. Like take the works of some professional photographer, remove all the metadata, and then voila! you can't find out anymore who created it, so businesses are now free to use it.
  • by MrNemesis (587188) on Friday December 21, 2012 @12:06PM (#42360283) Homepage Journal

    Can we get some links from the Daily Mail please? As a UK citizen I don't think there's enough reactionary nonsense from the Daily Fail posted on slashdot as journalistic fact!

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2251617/Video-mash-ups-song-parodies-legalised-just-long-funny.html [dailymail.co.uk]

    I'm sure some editors will be able to spin this as proof that the UK is somehow living in a mish-mash between 1984 and Mad Max.

    On a more serious note, I'm amazed that our government would do something so sensible (especially in denying the "storage tax") merely 15 years too late, and since our governments of the last decade appear to be living out of the back pockets of the financial and entertainment industries, I'm wondering what other copyright reforms will be riding on the back of this. Call my cynical (or maybe reading too much sensationalist nonsense), but whenever I've seen a move for the better regarding copyright in the other first-world countries, it's always come with a whole shedload of "...just one more thing!" provisos, such as blank media taxes and three-strikes rules. Perhaps those will come up in the next few days and be buried over christmas...

  • Fair Dealing (Score:4, Informative)

    by Bogtha (906264) on Friday December 21, 2012 @12:11PM (#42360359)

    There is currently no 'fair use' law in the U.K.

    There is, it's called "fair dealing" [wikipedia.org].

    • Re:Fair Dealing (Score:4, Informative)

      by Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) on Friday December 21, 2012 @01:51PM (#42361547)

      That is true, but they aren't direct equivalents: the US concept of fair use is built on general principles, but the UK concept of fair dealing enumerates specific exceptions to copyright.

      That set of exceptions is currently absurdly small by modern standards; you know you've gone crazy when even Big Media is saying in public that it won't go after people for doing things that aren't considered "fair" in this way! But there's nothing adaptive about the underlying law (unlike fair use in the US) so advancing technology has left it behind.

      After several high-profile formal reviews of UK IP laws that each led almost nowhere despite invariably proposing a bunch of reasonably and widely supported changes, it seems like pretty much everyone is fed up of having daft laws on the books that make the UK look like some backwater village rather than a major centre for creative and technology advancement. Hopefully we really will see sensible change now, particularly with regard to things like format shifting, and hopefully also the whole DRM-nullifies-all-related-freedoms problem.

    • by jonbryce (703250)

      It doesn't allow you to rip a CD onto your iPod, and even the music industry here thinks its OK to do that.

  • Without fair use provisions until now?

    I do not understand how society could even function if you cannot at least quote with citations someone else without breaking the law.

    • I do not understand how society could even function if you cannot at least quote with citations someone else without breaking the law.

      That's not really a problem. I don't think I _ever_ used a quote from a CD or a DVD that I bought. The problem is that you break the law (apparently) by ripping any music onto your computer, and then putting it on your iPod. Which people have been doing for years and years and years. And "people" includes every single MP except for the most technical retarded, and every single judge in the country except for the most technical retarded.

    • by Shimbo (100005)

      I do not understand how society could even function if you cannot at least quote with citations someone else without breaking the law.

      You can. The current state of the law is more restrictive than the US law, particularly as regards format shifting. Limited quotes for review are perfectly fine. As others have posted, see under 'Fair dealing'.

    • by itsdapead (734413) on Friday December 21, 2012 @12:40PM (#42360649)

      Without fair use provisions until now?

      I do not understand how society could even function if you cannot at least quote with citations someone else without breaking the law.

      As others have said, short quotations are OK.

      As for the format shifting/ripping thing, everybody just ignores it. In the UK, even the recording industry isn't terminally stupid enough to prosecute people copying a CD they bought onto a MP3 player. However, if you make hardware that rips CDs then be careful how you advertise it [asa.org.uk] (Note: before you start frothing at the mouth too much, these people weren't prosecuted - they were just told by the independent advertising industry watchdog to change their advert, because someone raised a complaint that was petty but legally correct).

  • I'm sure they will do a complete U-Turn on this shortly.
    • They'll pull a Canada. Implement a fair-use tax on various items, then enact a law denying the fair-use [but keeping the tax].

  • Long live the Parodies!

  • Of course they'll probably pull the Canadian trick of making cracking-DRM to do it a criminal offense.
    • by vux984 (928602)


      Of course they'll probably pull the Canadian trick of making cracking-DRM to do it a criminal offense.

      Yeah that sucked pretty hard. But setting the cap on the penalty for doing so low enough that the lawyers won't generally be interested in bothering anyone over it.

      Its not remotely perfect, but its dysfunctional enough that it sort of balances itself out.

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        Its not remotely perfect, but its dysfunctional enough that it sort of balances itself out.

        It's not remotely good. They created a system which criminalizes almost everyone so that they can threaten the populace at will with just one more law. Remember, the game is making sure that everyone is violating at least one law as a sort of rubberstamp on harassment.

        • by vux984 (928602)

          They created a system which criminalizes almost everyone so that they can threaten the populace at will with just one more law.

          Uh huh, in addition to the multitude of others that already exist. I agree its bullshit, but its not "new scary bullshit", its the same old bullshit we already live with.

          Remember, the game is making sure that everyone is violating at least one law as a sort of rubberstamp on harassment.

          There is no "game" to make sure everyone is breaking the law so they can rubberstamp harrassment.

          • by drinkypoo (153816)

            There is no "game" to make sure everyone is breaking the law so they can rubberstamp harrassment. Take off your tin foil hat.

            Is that the best you can do [intel-research.net]? Conspiracies are the norm, not the exception. That you believe different only proves that you are typically naive and also that you do not own a dictionary.

    • by jonbryce (703250)

      The EUCD already makes that illegal in Europe.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    To answer the questions "A sensible copyright law from the U.K.? What are the chances of this getting through?" I have a snowball that has better chance in hell of surviving than this happening.

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