A new (but long overdue) copyright exception is being introduced in June of this year which is being heralded as modernising the law of copyright. The exception will allow an individual to copy legally obtained content from one medium or device to another. In simple terms, I can copy my entire CD collection onto my iPhone or iPod or both if I wish but I still can’t sell it to all readers of this blog, sorry. Couldn’t I do that before? Not officially, but this new exception seeks to align the law with a practice which most people think is entirely reasonable.
A few points to note: (a) the exception only applies to individuals; (b) it doesn’t allow us to circumvent any copy-protection measures that might be embedded in the content we are copying; and (c) does not allow us to give or sell the copy to someone else (or multiple people) or to transfer the original to someone else and retain a copy.
Interestingly, when I signed up to Netflix last year, I had to nominate the devices on which we will watch our films. Once this new exception is in place from June, we will not have to do this any more and will be able to download and watch the film on any device that we like. Netflix cannot seek to override the exception via contractual terms.