The US Library of Congress has ruled that owners of Apple iPods (opens in new tab) , and other portable video players, are not allowed to copy CDs or DVDs they've legally purchased on to their devices.
The ruling came despite lobbying by a number of bodies, including teachers and university professors, for an exception to the law. While the Library of Congress did allow an exception for teachers, ordinary members of the public cannot copy their CDs or DVDs.
The ruling comes amid confusion over American citizens' rights regarding 'fair use'.
In 2005 the Recording Industry Association of America ( RIAA ) appeared to allow condone CD ripping in its legal submission in the MGM vs Grokster case. The RIAA's lawyer Don Verrilli told the court: "The record companies, my clients, have said, for some time now, and it's been on their website for some time now, that it's perfectly lawful to take a CD that you've purchased, upload it on to your computer, put it onto your iPod."
However the RIAA appeared to change its mind last February in a submission as part of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act ( DMCA ) rule-making proceedings, where it argued that both time-shifting (recording to watch later) and format-shifting (ripping to another device to watch in another location) infringed artists' copyright.
In the UK, of course, there is no such confusion. Any and all copying or duplication of any content on any media is an infringement of copyright unless you've sought permission from the copyright holder first. There is no 'fair use' clause.
However the Institute for Public Policy and Research ( IPPR ) asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer Mr. Gordon Brown in October to enshrine the concept of 'fair use' into UK law. The IPPR called for the law change in its report Public Innovation: Intellectual Property In A Digital Age. Richard Preston / Rob Mead