The Institute for Public Policy Research, a British progressive think-tank, has just released a white paper called "Public Innovation: Intellectual Property in a Digital Age," which urges the UK government to set up a "legal right to copy." Unlike in the US, which has a "fair use" doctrine, British citizens do not have an inherent right to rip their own CDs to their MP3 player of choice. However, Kay Withers, one of the authors of the report, told Engadget that while no Briton has ever been prosecuted for the crime of ripping one's own CDs, "we feel that it's important that the law get updated with technological progress and public preference." Withers and the IPPR hope that the recommendations will be taken into account by the government, which is currently undertaking a study of intellectual property laws. This study is being headed by the former editor of the Financial Times, Sir Andrew Gowers; his report is expected to be returned to Chancellor Gordon Brown sometime this autumn. [Warning: PDF link]
UK think-tank argues for 'legal right to copy' one's own CDs
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