Ludicrous British copyright law to allow ripping CDs

0 Posted by - January 9, 2008 - Blog

Ludicrous: causing laughter because of absurdity; provoking or deserving derision.

As a wee lad, I was a Spaceballs fanatic. And much like Spaceball One's top speed, the film was ludicrous. That one word, which is ludicrous in itself, has forever meant one and only one thing to me: Spaceballs.

That was, of course, until I learned that ripping a CD onto your computer in the UK was illegal. British lawmakers had officially surpassed Rick Moranis and friends on the ludicrous scale.

If all goes as planned, however, British law will soon be downgraded to ridiculous as parliament is poised to give consumers several new rights, including a right to parody and to format-shift copyrighted material.

Not surprisingly, the proposed changes are as clear as mud, raising a number of questions—such as those asked yesterday by Ars Technica.

Perhaps the murkiest issue would be whether the law would be retroactive. It's possible that music published before 2008 might only be listened to legally in its original format, while tracks published after the law takes effect can be ripped ad nauseam. Actually, that whole ad nauseam business isn't quite clear either, as the current proposal doesn't stipulate how many format shifts would be allowed.

Fear not Spaceballs—you might not be lone amongst the ludicrous after all.

Previously on Art Threat:
Negativland cuts up copyright on Our Favourite Things DVD
30 ways to fight the DCMA
The Pirate Party: “On The Stump” against copyright

Leave a reply