You know those hundreds of CDs you've copied on to your computer? They're kind of illegal -- but a new government report proposes changing that. The Digital Opportunities report hashed out by Professor Ian Hargreaves is published today, suggesting a number of measures to drag British copyright law kicking and screaming into the digital age.
The 130-page report urges lawmakers to make it legal for us to copy our legally bought music, films and other content to different formats. If the government goes ahead with that suggestion, it'll hopefully become much easier to get software that copies our content, taking the headache out of copying movies to a phone or tablet.
The report advocates a central body for sorting out copyright on works for which the rights aren't easily traced. This Digital Copyright Exchange will let you buy and sell licences to copyright material. The changes will make it easier for others to license difficult works like those in the public domain or whose rights-holder can't be traced.
The report was commissioned six months ago to see how Great Britain can compete more efficiently in the digital age, and includes provisions for the government to make more informed decisions about intellectual property. Copyright wonks will also be nimbler on their feet to react to changes, as Blighty encourages innovation and growth.
The report also cautions the government not to clamp down too heavily on anything not directly connected to what copyright is designed for -- which is providing incentives for creators to create stuff.
That might be aimed at the swingeing powers of the unpopular and half-baked
The report is being considered by intellectual property minister Baroness Wilcox, before a possible overhaul of copyright rules.