In the 80s, according to record companies, home taping was killing music. Fast forward some 20 years and the devices we use to listen to music may have changed, but the recording industry is still claiming that the illegal copying of their product harms future production.

When a piece of music is purchased you might assume you can listen to it in on any number of different devices: at home, in the car or on a portable music player. But, in the UK at least, you would be wrong.

"You can't copy any form of music or film without the copyright owner's consent," explained copyright lawyer Hamish Porter.

"So if you buy a CD from a record shop, even copying that CD onto your iPod is unlawful unless you have the copyright owner's consent."

In practice, stopping consumers making CD backups has proved impossible to enforce. But our habits are changing; around 10% of purchased music is now downloaded. This raises different issues.

"When you download an electronic copy of a musical work or a film from a website," said Mr Porter, "the copyright owner, as part of the contract under which you have downloaded it, has allowed you to copy that file onto a laptop or an iPod or onto a hard disc.

The problem, some believe, is that the music labels have made these contracts pretty restrictive by using something called Digital Rights Management (DRM).


David Roundtree, the drummer with Blur told us: "The idea is that DRM is supposed to allow you to control the copying of your music.

"That's the point of it all. You're supposed to be able to sell something to somebody and restrict what they do with it after that." CLICK ONLINE
By Spencer Kelly
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