Plans that would make it legal for individuals to make digital copies of their CDs and DVDs have been announced by the Government in a shake up of copyright law predicted to boost the economy by £8 billion.The plans would make it legal for people to copy CDs on to their computers- which is already legal in many other countries.
Vince Cable, the Business Secretary, gave his “broad backing” to a review by Professor Ian Hargreaves of copyright law, claiming it would stimulate innovation.
“We are removing the barriers to the intellectual property system to encourage innovation. We need a legal framework that supports consumer use rather than one that sees it as regrettable,” he said.
The changes are expected to pave the way for Google and Amazon to launch “cloud” music storage systems for UK consumers – although there was still some confusion over whether this could run into conflict with European law.
A government spokesman said any conflicts would be dealt with during the consultation period, but Mr Cable said he was “confident” there would not be problems.
The shake-up will also allow anyone to apply data-mining technology to published journals, making it easier for the scientific community to access research.
However, the move was met with hostility by publishers, who see data-mining as a major source of growth.
Richard Mollett, chief executive of the Publishers Association, described the changes as an “unwarranted blunt instrument” that would damage a £1.5 billion industry.
He added that 90pc of research is made available for mining on request, despite claims by research charity the Wellcome Trust that 87 pc is unavailable.