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Vince Cable To Unveil Copyright Changes To Make iPod Music Transfers Legal

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VINCE CABLE
Business Secretary Vince Cable will announce the Government's response to 10 recommendations on intellectual property following a review by Professor Ian Hargreaves. | AP

PRESS ASSOCIATION -- The Government will unveil changes to copyright law which could open the door to new services for film and music fans and boost the economy by up to £7.9 billion.

Business Secretary Vince Cable will announce the Government's response to 10 recommendations on intellectual property following 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.

Mr Cable is expected to say that he will legislate to sweep away these restrictions, making it legal for consumers to build up personal libraries of music, videos and films on their home computers and transfer them on to devices such as iPods - as millions already do without being aware that they are technically breaking the law.

The move will clear the way for companies such as Google and Amazon to develop online content storage systems for UK consumers, allowing them to create back-up files of their music and film libraries in a "cloud" on the internet, so they can be retrieved even if their own computer or MP3 player is stolen or lost.

The reforms are also expected to make it legal for individuals to burn copies of purchased content for other family members to use. However, sharing files of copyrighted material over the internet is expected to remain illegal.

Mr Cable is also expected to give legal protection to internet spoofs of famous chart hits and movie blockbusters.

Legislation to protect parodies would prevent the kind of legal challenge which forced the makers of YouTube hit Newport State of Mind - which relocated Jay-Z's Empire State of Mind from New York to South Wales - to remove it from the video-sharing site.

Another proposed copyright exception expected to be supported by the Government will make it easier for scientists to mine existing electronic journals to make discoveries.

The Business Secretary said: "We are determined to explore how exceptions to copyright can benefit the UK economy and support growth. Private copying is carried out by millions of people and many are astonished that it is illegal in this country