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Rip away

The doorbell rings. It's the postman. He's got an Amazon package for you. It's that CD you ordered, because you couldn't find the album on iTunes. You've had to wait days for it. But how do you listen to the stupid thing? You don't have a CD player. You stick it in your PC, open up iTunes, and copy it to your library so you can transfer it to your iPod.

Congratulations. You're a criminal.

Believe it or not, it's illegal in the UK to copy a CD or DVD to your hard drive, even if both the disc and the hard drive are yours. It's considered making a copy, which is considered piracy. It's a hangover from the pre-digital days, and the early 2000s when the music industry thought people copying their CDs to their iPods was somehow going to end the world as we knew it.

Fortunately, this odd business is to end. The Government has warmly welcomed a report on copyright law, the Hargreaves Report, pleding to implement its recommendations - one of which is to legalise the creation of copies for personal use. Legislation should be forthcoming in a matter of months.

So that box of CDs you've been putting off digitising? If you want to feel the illicit thrill of illegal activity, now's the time to get on with it...

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