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Copyright reform worth up to £7.9bn

The Government has announced "sweeping" reforms to copyright law aimed at opening the door to new services for film and music fans and boosting the economy by up to £7.9 billion.

Business Secretary Vince Cable said ministers had accepted recommendations on intellectual property after a review by Professor Ian Hargreaves.

Unlike most countries, Britain's current intellectual property regime makes it technically illegal to transfer content from CDs or DVDs on to a different format, such as an MP3 file on a computer.

Among the recommendations accepted by the Government are that the UK should have a digital copyright exchange - a digital market place where licences in copyright content can be bought and sold, which the review estimated could add £2 billion a year to the UK economy by 2020.

Moves will also be made to sweep away restrictions on copying content from a CD to a computer or portable device such as an iPod, which millions of people already do assuming it is legal.

Mr Cable said the move will bring copyright law into line with the "real world", and with consumers' "reasonable expectations".

It will also be made legal for performing artists, such as comedians, to parody someone else's work without seeking permission from the copyright holder.

The minister also announced the introduction of an exception to copyright for search and analysis techniques known as "text and data mining", saying that research scientists such as medical researchers are being hampered from working on data because it is illegal under copyright law to do this without permission of copyright owners.

Procedures will be made to open up a range of works locked away in libraries and museums and unavailable for consumer or research purposes.

Mr Cable said: "We are accepting the recommendations and will now set about reforming the UK's intellectual property systems. Opening up intellectual property laws can deliver real value to the UK economy as well as the creators and consumers."


From Belfast Telegraph