NZ music labels unlikely to opt out of 'iPod' change

01:43, Jan 31 2009

The Recording Industry Association says record companies are unlikely to try to use "opt out" provisions in the amended Copyright Act to prevent people from copying music from CDs to iPods, MP3 players, telephones and computers.

Parliament last week passed changes to the Copyright Act that will for the first time make it legal to "format shift" audio files, which usually involves copying music from CDs to MP3 players.

It will be legal to copy music so long as the person making the copy bought the original and doesn't resell it. The copies must be for personal use and not more than one copy may be made for each device.

Copyright owners may impose extra conditions or outlaw format shifting entirely in customer contracts, for example, when a CD is first bought.

Rianz' chief executive, Campbell Smith, says that right is important but he does not expect the association's members, which include Sony, EMI, Warner, and Universal Music, to exercise it "in the current environment".

He says the association is "generally pleased" with the changes to the act and the format shifting provisions are "reasonable and workable".

InternetNZ executive director Keith Davidson says the right to format shift audio material is a very modest step in the right direction.

"It is a great pity, though, that they have allowed producers to opt out of format shifting, and have not extended format shifting to other media such as video."

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