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Old 14-05-06, 07:55 PM   #1
JackSpratts's Avatar
Join Date: May 2001
Location: New England
Posts: 9,987
Default Transferring Music Between Devices Ruled Legal In Australia

"Everyday consumers shouldn't be treated like copyright pirates. Copyright pirates should not be treated like everyday consumers."

By Kerry Anne Walsh

TRANSFERRING music from CDS onto iPods and other MP3 players will no longer be illegal after federal cabinet agreed to make sweeping changes to copyright laws.

But beware the trap of downloading from the internet. The Government will increase surveillance and fines on internet piracy in a package to be announced by Attorney-General Philip Ruddock today.

Once the new laws are passed, "format shifting" of music, newspapers and books from personal collections onto MP3 players will become legal. The new laws will also make it legal for people to tape television and radio programs for playback later, a practice currently prohibited although millions of people regularly do it.

Under the current regime, millions of households a day are breaking the law when they tape a show and watch it at another time.

Schools, universities, libraries and other cultural institutions will, in the future, be free to use copyright material for non-commercial purposes.

But the Government is giving police greater powers to tackle internet piracy, signalling that the days of downloading music from the internet danger-free may be limited.

Police will be able to issue on-the-spot fines and access and recover profits made by copyright pirates. Courts will be given powers to award larger damages payouts against internet pirates. Civil infringement proceedings will apply to copyright pirates who make electronic reproductions or copies of copyright material.

In a win for recording artists, the new package will include the removal of the legislative 1 per cent cap on copyright licence fees paid by radio broadcasters for playing recordings.

The Government is bracing for a stoush with commercial radio stations over the removal of the cap, which has been in place since 1968.

But Mr Ruddock believes the archaic provision was established to protect radio broadcasters who were facing a difficult economic environment at the time.

As they now operated in a "profitable and robust" industry, record companies and artists should be allowed to negotiate a fair market rate without legislative intervention, he will announce. If both sides cannot agree on fees, the Copyright Tribunal would be called upon to adjudicate.

The Australian Institute of Criminology will be asked to undertake research into the extent of piracy and counterfeiting in Australia and the best methods of responding to the problem.

"Copyright is important and should be respected," Mr Ruddock said. "Everyday consumers shouldn't be treated like copyright pirates. Copyright pirates should not be treated like everyday consumers."

The Government will ask the Australian Crime Commission to investigate reports that organised crime is infiltrating piracy and counterfeiting rackets in Australia.
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