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

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the what's-yours-is-mine dept.

United Kingdom 48

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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48 comments

Behind the times (1)

sunderland56 (621843) | about a year ago | (#42360195)

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

Re:Behind the times (1)

Jetra (2622687) | about a year ago | (#42360247)

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?

Re:Behind the times (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about a year ago | (#42360307)

What language is your spell checker set to?

Re:Behind the times (1)

Jetra (2622687) | about a year ago | (#42360331)

English. I'm using opera if that helps.

Re:Behind the times (1)

eugene ts wong (231154) | about a year ago | (#42361861)

I had spell check problems with Opera, also. It was definitely a bug, since it would underline, "I', and some 2 letter words. I had to add them to the dictionary, and could never get rid of the "I" problem. The recent upgrades seemed to help. I'm using Kubuntu, and installed it via the system's upgrade mechanism.

Re:Behind the times (1)

Jetra (2622687) | about a year ago | (#42363431)

Fixed. It seems that Windows was holding my spellchecker hostage until I updated.

Re:Behind the times (1)

Dupple (1016592) | about a year ago | (#42360255)

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

Re:Behind the times (3, Informative)

StoneyMahoney (1488261) | about a year ago | (#42360569)

It won't be coming any time soon - business secretary Vince Cable specifically refused to refused any levies like that when the EU asked us to implement them.

Re:Behind the times (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | about a year ago | (#42361667)

I'm guessing the lifting of these copyright restrictions apply to all media.....

...except pr0n?

Incomplete (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42360209)

Private copying - to permit people to copy digital content they have bought onto any medium or device that they own, but strictly for their own personal use such as transferring their music collection or eBooks to their tablet, phone or to a private cloud;

This law would need to make it illegal to prevent me from doing this.

Re:Incomplete (1)

denis-The-menace (471988) | about a year ago | (#42361403)

If they are like all other politicians, they will copy the new Canadian law:

You can copy all you want for private use if not copy protected.

It a right that nobody can exercise.

Ying and yang (4, Insightful)

Tx (96709) | about a year ago | (#42360219)

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.

Re:Ying and yang (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42361569)

If they follow the trend of US law recently, the "Fair Use of Copyrighted Materials" law would actually have nothign to do with copyright, and instead be a set of tax incentives to export rabbits to Australia or something.

Things the UK government / agencies want (4, Interesting)

gnasher719 (869701) | about a year ago | (#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.

Re:Things the UK government / agencies want (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42365105)

...(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)....

From the Culture department:

This is, of course, basically the plot of the Gilbert and Sullivan operetta "the Mikado". There, the Mikado - the ruler of Japan - enacts a law that condemns anyone who flirts to death. The town of Titipu reacts to this by promoting the next person due to be beheaded to the rank of Lord High Executioner - the person who has to do the beheading. Since it is a difficult task to cut one's own head off, the number of beheadings rapidly falls....

Proper citations please (4, Insightful)

MrNemesis (587188) | about a year ago | (#42360283)

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...

Misread (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42360355)

Misread it the first time, UK Gov't Plans To Give Greater Freedom To US Copyright Trolls

Fair Dealing (3, Informative)

Bogtha (906264) | about a year ago | (#42360359)

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

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

Re:Fair Dealing (3, Informative)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | about a year ago | (#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.

Re:Fair Dealing (1)

jonbryce (703250) | about a year ago | (#42367991)

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

How did they manage (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about a year ago | (#42360379)

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.

Re:How did they manage (1)

gnasher719 (869701) | about a year ago | (#42360459)

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.

Re:How did they manage (2)

Shimbo (100005) | about a year ago | (#42360469)

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'.

Re:How did they manage (4, Informative)

itsdapead (734413) | about a year ago | (#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).

What else.... (1)

I_Wrote_This (858682) | about a year ago | (#42360935)

...will be in the bill? Politicians have a habit of rolling lots of things into one in bills, and you can only get all or nothing. This suggestion (seems to) make sense, so there must be something else in the plan that they are hoping to get through on the back of it.
Or am I just too cynical?

Re:What else.... (1)

Shimbo (100005) | about a year ago | (#42361243)

...will be in the bill? Politicians have a habit of rolling lots of things into one in bills, and you can only get all or nothing.

One thing I have never understood is how that works in the US system. There's normally plenty of time in the UK to take amendments on a Bill before you get to the take it or leave it stage.

Re:What else.... (1)

NicBenjamin (2124018) | about a year ago | (#42364865)

...will be in the bill? Politicians have a habit of rolling lots of things into one in bills, and you can only get all or nothing.

One thing I have never understood is how that works in the US system. There's normally plenty of time in the UK to take amendments on a Bill before you get to the take it or leave it stage.

The "US system" is purposefully designed to be a pain in the ass. "Checks and Balances," "Separation of Powers," etc. are supposed to make governing a complex dance between the Executive and Legislative. Since Congressman are much more independent of their leaders in the US then the UK it's 539 people are on the dance floor, and a 540th (the Vice President) has to come in whenever there's a tie in the Senate. That means a lot of what Americans call "the ordinary operations of the United States Government," are what any sane person would call "gaming the system" in frequently futile attempts to get things done.

For the specific example you mention Omnibus bills are great because they force Congress to actually do shit, rather then simply find ways to put things off until the next election. Everyone assumes that the Other Side will get wiped at the next election, and for 99.9% of issues the Executive really can BS a solution for a year or two. But that 0.1% HAS to be done this year, and if it's in the same bill with a lot of the crap that could be put off...

This kind of thing does not happen in Westminster systems because the guy in charge stops being in charge when most of Parliament votes against him. He's got every incentive to get everything done today, while he still has the Confidence of Parliament. The people with a reason to delay (the Opposition, members of his party who think they'll get a minutely better deal next year, etc.) do not have the power to actually stop him, or he wouldn't be Prime Minster anymore. Omnibus bills don't help him, risk angering his fellow MPs, and don't look good during Question Time.

BTW, the recent rise of the Filibuster, it's possible castration via the Constitutional Option, and the entire "Fiscal Cliff" debate show exactly how intricate the US Government is, and how incredibly stupid it can get when someone figures out a new way to gum up the works.

Re:What else.... (1)

Shimbo (100005) | about a year ago | (#42367899)

Thanks for taking the trouble to reply in detail; it also answers the original question better than I could.

There's a catch though... (1)

waterford0069 (580760) | about a year ago | (#42361059)

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

Re:There's a catch though... (2)

vux984 (928602) | about a year ago | (#42366393)


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.

Re:There's a catch though... (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year ago | (#42368095)

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.

Re:There's a catch though... (1)

vux984 (928602) | about a year ago | (#42368149)

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. Take off your tin foil hat.

The governement really isn't THAT organized - and the power mad petty functionaries who want to harass people already have far better tools then this.

Re:There's a catch though... (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year ago | (#42368395)

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.

Hidden Agenda (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42361117)

This law is going to allow every right wing nutjob out there to insult and abuse anyone they like. It will also work hand in hand with updated prosecution guidelines allows things like "banter". Nothing will have changed other than the more toxic elements of the internet having a field day and being given legal backing so they can't be touched.

The US gets the idea of driving principled behaviour in law from the constitution on downwards. The mistake many Americans and British make is thinking the UK is the same. It's not. The UK is, sadly, governed by who carries the biggest stick. Given the climate how many people think these changes will develop the arts or understanding between people? Not only is it politically deceitful in its intent it's throwing a bone to the crowd so they forget that competition law has utterly failed and data protection and snooping issues continue.

snowball (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42361161)

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.

SO.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42361433)

if the govt plans to give me the right to copy onto other media for my personal use as stated at the link, how about they go ahead and outlaw DRM schemes designed to prevent me from exercising my right by tying content to a particular device. Huh? Please, Mr Cameron?

Turn about (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42361737)

Many are saying, just take it and do what you want with it. After all, those same copyright holders and law makers screwed over everybody else.

haha (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42362145)

they are slowly realizing that long terms, too much restrictions onuse is damaging any drive to use anything or do anyhting...everyones giving up bothering...and developing. THUS growth stagnates and cause old stuff hardware wise gets cheaper to make all it does is stagnate and then you dont need ot buy the latest anything.

This can't be right (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42364963)

By fair dealing, the politicians mean the person with the most lawyers.

What happened to the UK's policy of "The unwashed masses are criminals we have to oppress"?

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