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March 23, 2004
Music Format Shifting to be Legal in NZ
New Zealand is considering a law which would legalize format shifting for music, according to a report in the New Zealand Herald (Music industry warns of legalised CD copying):
The change would make it legal for someone who owns a legitimately obtained CD to make one copy for their own private use. Under the widely flouted current law, all copying, even for personal listening, is banned.
There are some interesting quotes from major members of the recording industry in NZ:
Sony NZ managing director Michael Glading said he was totally opposed to the move, which he believed would "open the floodgates" to unrestricted piracy.
No reference to serial killers here, but alarmist nonetheless. And what planet has Glading been living on? Hello ... P2P filesharing ... gates already open ...
"At the end of the day, you're sending a message that it's okay to copy, and that is going to kill our business. It's taking away people's rights to earn a living, and that's horrendous."
They just don't get it. By trying to prevent all copying, copyright maximalists undermine copyright law as a whole. Personal-use copying causes no harm, but is extremely convenient for the consumer. By making regular consumers into copyright criminals for personal-use copying, overall respect for copyright is substantially diminished. The same thing is happening with file sharing. By claiming that all file sharing is bad, even with close friends and family, copyright maximalists are hurting their own cause (Share with Friends, Not Strangers).
He [Glading] said the proposal was inconsistent. "They're not saying it's okay to copy Lord of the Rings from one DVD to another, but it's okay to copy Brooke Fraser from one CD to another. It's farcical."
Well, you know, he does have a point. Of course, I can't imagine this argument being made by a US recording industry leader except ironically. Still, this argument would only seem to point the way towards a general right of personal use copying. After all, NZ law already provides for backup copies of computer programs.
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