Monday, 16 May 2011

Hargreaves and fair use

The FT article mentioned in my previous post also refers, though almost as an afterthought, the question of aligning copyright with what consumers actually do - meeting their legitimate expectations, you might say. I don't think anyone ever suggested meeting illegitimate expectations, though what is and isn't legit does involve a heavy dose of subjectivity.

The suggestion is that one should be permitted to "rip" music from a CD onto a digital player or computer, which the law does not permit at present. Indeed, the law does not permit it, although the system of urban myths that usually stands in place of copyright law for most people does allow it. But so too does the record industry, wise enough not to alienate the vast majority of its customers, so the FT's assertion that permitting "ripping" will leave the industry free to concentrate on commercial infringers rings a bit hollow - I don't imagine they are wasting time on non-commercial ones anyway.

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