Whilst the Us is hell-bent on making everyone a criminal to their copyright lobby (possibly looking for a large enough captive market for Tom Cruise and Britney Spears), over in Australia, common sense seems to be prevailing. The Australian Attorney-General is reportedly considering codifying what should be considered basic fair-rights usage, into Aussie law.
It comes about after a 12 month inquiry made by AG Ruddock's department. The main topics are Time Shifting (legal in the US under the Sony Betamax ruling) where you can record something to watch/listen later, and 'format shifting' where you turn something from one format to another (such as a VHS tape into a DVD to play on your laptop when travelling, or a CD, into an MP3 to play on an mp3 player.
Naturally, copyright owners are not happy about such things – two TV networks claiming it will 'lead to an increase in piracy” - the underground market for Neighbours episodes is a lucrative one – although if they mean copyright infringement, or some form of criminal action by that statement is unclear.
Regardless of the outcome, its nice to see some government officials are not sitting in the pockets of 'Big Media' and are instead looking out for the consumers that are, at the end of the day, their electorate. Shame it seems to only happen south of the equator.
The Age news report