UK to legalize private copying of CDs: source

LONDON Tue Aug 2, 2011 4:34pm EDT

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LONDON (Reuters) - Britain will signal on Wednesday that it intends to legalize copying of CDs or DVDs onto digital music players or computers for personal use, a government source said on Tuesday.

The move was one of the recommendations made in a review of Britain's intellectual property framework carried out by Professor Ian Hargreaves earlier this year at the request of Prime Minister David Cameron.

Business Secretary Vince Cable will announce on Wednesday the government's response to Hargreaves' report.

Hargreaves, professor of digital economy at Cardiff School of Journalism, found that Britain's 300-year-old copyright laws were obstructing innovation and growth and said a shake-up could add nearly 8 billion pounds ($13 billion) to the economy.

Cable will signal the government will agree to Hargreaves' recommendation to legalize private copying or "format shifting" of legitimately-purchased copyright works, the source said.

The practice has already been legalized in European countries except for Britain, Ireland and Malta.

The change will mean a consumer may copy a CD they have bought onto another device such as their iPod or home computer.

It will not allow people to share content over the internet without copyright owners' permission, such as on file-sharing sites.

The government will also agree to another Hargreaves' recommendation to introduce an exception to copyright for parody, the source said.

This will make it legal for comedians to parody someone else's work without seeking permission from the copyright holder.

The government has not yet indicated what stance it will take on another Hargreaves' recommendation -- the introduction of a central digital copyright exchange where licenses in copyright could be bought and sold, helping simplify the way businesses purchase rights to material.

(Reporting by Adrian Croft; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

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