This Wednesday, Britain will signal its intent to legalize copying of CDs or DVDs onto computers and/or digital music players for personal use. This word comes from a government source speaking with Rueters this Tuesday, August 2nd, 2011. This move will be on a recommendation made to review Britian's intellectual property framework as carried out by Professor Ian Hargreaves earlier this year at the request of Prime Minister David Cameron. Digital music converters around the country realize it's been illegal all this time, say "oh dear me," and continue on with their day.
According to this same government source, Business Secretary Vince Cable will announce the government's response to Hargreaves report on Wednesday. One of the most clear reasons why this set of findings done by Hargreaves, professor of digital economy at Cardiff School of Journalism, is that there's room for 8 billion pounds (aka $13 billion USD) to be added to the economy. This change of law would shake up Britain's 300-year-old ruling on copyright which Hargreaves says are obstructing innovation and growth.
Business Secretary Vince Cable will indeed signal the government's agreeing to Hargreaves' recommendation to legalize "format shifting" of legitimately purchased copyrighted works such as music, said the same source as mentioned above. This same practice has been legalized in most European countries save Britain, Ireland, and of course Malta. This changing of law will allow consumers to copy data from CDs to devices such as iPods or personal home computers, but does not allow for the sharing of content over the internet without the copyright owner's permission.
This ruling will extend over Hargreaves recommendation to introduce an exception that includes copyright for parody, this meaning comedians such as, for example, Weird Al, would be able to parody someone else's work without seeking permission from the holder of the copyright of the original work. Would that this weren't already a law in the USA for many years now, we'd be without such classics as "Eat It," "Smells Like Nirvana," "Perform This Way." Of course the law works a bit differently here in the USA than in England where the law is, instead, not written down with pen and ink.
Finally, the government has not yet spoken on how the introduction of a central digital copyright exchange will be rules upon, one where a licenses in copyright could be bought and sold - as per Hargreaves recommendation again.