Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Copyright reform: What's in it for you?

Given that most of the proposed changes to copyright law focus on making it easier for multinational companies to farm copyrights, there has to be some sort of sweetener in there for the ornery folks like you and me.

So it is with the amplification of a couple of points from the Hargreaves report. These are the hearty breakfasts before we get hauled off to the gibbet.

First up, Vince Cable is promising to legalise ripping content.

No, no, hold up a minute before planning your Liberation Day parades.

That this is being treated like an act of generosity, when really it's just clearing up an anomaly. It's like dropping the law about not being allowed to use a sledge and pretending that you're setting free a thousand tobogganists, rather than just bringing the law in line with accepted practice.

Even the most enthusiastic supporters of the change can't really seem to point to any major change in what will happen after it's enacted than "that bloke who advertises those multi-CD-player things in Private Eye won't have to word his ads quite so delicately any more."

The second, more substantial change is allowing a right of parody, which is long overdue.

It does mean, though, that the skills of people like Phil Pope and Mitch Benn in producing close-but-not-identical musical parodies will be swept away as we can all just sing "poopy poopy poo" over the top of Strangers In The Night instead.

So, less of this sort thing:

And this sort of thing:

(You wonder how much use Spitting Image got out of the Cyndi Lauper doll.)