The copyright law in the UK have finally been changed to reflect user needs ... or at least the needs as they were in the early 2000s.
The Intellectual Property Office has published a set of copyright exemptions that are set to come into effect on June 1st, and for the first time ever, format shifting will become a legal right for consumers. With one rather big catch.
While "ripping" of music CDs and other unprotected media will finally become legal, any digital content that is copy protected remains illegal to format-shift. This means consumers will still be left frustrated when it comes to format-shifting legal content, and particularly video content as most are copy protected in some form.
Regardless, speaking on these changes, the IPO heralded these changes are being part of important reforms to benefit the consumer.
"The changes make small but important reforms to UK copyright law and aim to end the current situation where minor and reasonable acts of copying which benefit consumers, society and the economy are unlawful," said the IPO.
Consumer groups, while welcoming the changes, questioned their actual impact.
"To format shift or parody a DVD you'd have to break the DRM to get the original work and you are not allowed to do so," Jim Killock, executive director of the Open Rights Group, told PC Pro.
The IPO clarifies that current copyright laws prevent breaking DRM in order to perform the now legal act of format-shifting, and the only recourse may not be an option at all.
"If copy protection is too restrictive, you may raise a complaint with the Secretary of State," explains the IPO.