Parliament is currently debating amendments to the Copyright Act 1968 which would hopefully bring it into line with the realities of modern technology. I was particularly interested in the provisions regarding home recording of TV shows, format shifting and place shifting.
Recording broadcasts for replaying at more convenient time
There has always been a “personal use” exemption for TV recordings in S111 of the Copyright Act; however it was somewhat ambiguous on some points.
The proposed amendments attempt to clear this up by explicitly allowing you to make a recording of a TV broadcast:
(a) in domestic premises; and
(b) solely for private and domestic use by watching or listening to the material broadcast at a time more convenient than the time when the broadcast is made.
In these circumstances “the making of the film or recording does not infringe copyright in the broadcast or in any work or other subject-matter included in the broadcast”.
This legalises time shifting, but I note that recording for the purpose of place shifting (watching the show somewhere else, such as on the train) is not permitted.
Copying sound recording in different format for private use
My reading is that you can make only one copy of a recording and it cannot be into the same format. I can’t see a definition of “format”. I presume it means changing from wav to mp3 for example. It seems that you are not allowed to then copy that to your Ipod, for example.
You are also not allowed to make a copy of something recorded off a radio show streamed on the ‘net, even in a different format.
Copying cinematograph film in different format for private use
Seems to specifically allow only analogue videotape to digital copying. “This section applies if: (a) the owner of videotape embodying a cinematograph film in analogue form makes a copy (the main copy) of the film in electronic form for his or her private and domestic use instead of the videotape”
So you can’t copy a video recording from your PVR to your Ipod, for example.
This is my layman’s interpretation of the amendments; I’d welcome any further insight into the draft amendments (there are 219 pages of them).