Short bio: Computer Scientist, FOSS supporter (read more)
Tux Machines (TM)-specific
It's unusual to see issues related to copyright law and its reform make much of an impact in the mainstream media here in the UK, but last week's report from the Institute of Public Policy Research, entitled Public Innovation: Intellectual Property in a Digital Age has been a notable exception.
Despite its rather dry title and hundred-odd pages of academic wrangling, the IPPR's report provoked a furore of interest, due to the fact that it recommends giving consumers a 'right to private copy' - effectively legalising the 'format shifting' of media, for instance by copying a CD onto a user's PC or mp3 player.
This came as some surprise to a great many people, who had assumed that making 'private copies' in this way was already perfectly legal, leading to the unprecedented amount of publicity that the report received. While it is true that this particular aspect of the IPPR's recommendations is noteworthy in itself, it is also indicative of a fundamental departure from the typical UK view of copyright legislation, a development which offers hope for copyright liberals in the UK.