Believe it or not, it's still illegal in the UK to rip a favorite CD, or even to show copyrighted work in distance education -- both fair use permissions that many North Americans take for granted. Some sense is at last coming around now that the Intellectual Property Office is putting forward copyright reforms that accept a digital reality. The measures explicitly approve private copying for personal use, making it legal to shift formats as long as it's to play purchased content. Many of the reforms also clear up the murkiness surrounding institutional use: analysts, researchers and teachers should have access to copyrighted material over networks, as long as it's for non-commercial purposes. The fair use terms aren't as broadly outlined as they are in the US -- these are exceptions, not general rules -- but they go a long way towards legitimizing what many wanted all along. Or, let's be honest, were already doing.
[Image credit: Department for Business Innovation and Skills, Flickr]