During a review of Intellectual Property policy, the Department for Business Innovation and Skills has taken a decision that it would drag its outdated law into the 21st century. The statement in question read that the government would allow consumers to copy digital content they have purchased onto any medium or device they own, but only for their own personal use like transferring their music collection or eBooks to their tablet, smartphone or to a private cloud.
In other words, sharing content between the devices is no longer a criminal act, after a consultation with industry representatives during the government’s Hargreaves Review. According to Business Secretary Vince Cable, the “common sense” approach would also be not so bad for businesses. It was pointed out that making the intellectual property framework fit for the modern world isn’t just common sense but also good business sense: bringing the legislation into line with ordinary consumers’ reasonable expectations would undoubtedly boost respect for copyright, on which the creative industries rely.
Cable added he felt they had struck the right balance between enhancing the way people benefit from copyright content they have legitimately paid for, encouraging business opportunities and protecting the rights of content creators.
Nevertheless, the move has angered the Musician’s Union, with General Secretary John Smith claiming that more should be done to compensate the musicians. He said that while the Union understands the need for the exception to bring the legislation into line with consumer behaviour, they still feel strongly that the lack of fair compensation would considerably disadvantage artists in relation to the vast majority of their European counterparts.