We are breaking the law

For years we have been taping television programs illegally so we can watch them later, but it seems the Federal Government cou
For years we have been taping television programs illegally so we can watch them later, but it seems the Federal Government cou


WE'VE all done it at one time or another, taped our favourite television show or uploaded music, but did you ever realise what you're doing was against the law?

Yvette, like thousands of others, received an iPod for Christmas this year.

All week she has uploaded music from her CD collection and not once has she considered being fined for her actions.

"I don't see how police could enforce this stupid law. I can't believe it is illegal to upload your own CDs," Yvette said.

Though the practice is widespread, it is illegal to convert a CD to MP3 format for playing on an iPod. It is also against the law to tape a television program.

Yvette wanted an iPod so she could upload music for travelling and to obtain some rare songs from the internet, and she imagined that both practices were legal.

"I can see the perspective from a musician's side of things but, if you have bought a CD and you want to convert it or you want to tape a television show it is for convenience," she said.

It has been comments such as this which could soon see copyright laws change.

The Federal Government is considering legalising the video recording of television shows for personal use, and the transfer of songs from CDs to MP3 players.

The decision will overturn the ban which has been ignored by most Australians and made nearly all of us criminals.

Yet to be decided, though, is whether a levy will be slapped on the store price of blank CDs and MP3 players to compensate artists.

Attorney-General Philip Ruddock has flagged tidying up the laws by fair-use loopholes. His spokesperson said the Government was close to completing drafts.

In Canada, where similar laws have been introduced, a fee was levied on blank CD and iPod unit sales to compensate copyright owners, with up to an extra $32 being placed on the store price of individual machines.

Mr Ruddock's spokesperson said a similar system had been discussed for Australia, but was unlikely.

The Australian Federal Police do not pursue people who have taped television shows or transferred songs to their iPods from CDs. However, a spokesperson said all referrals were acted on.

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