U.K. Poised to Legalize Digital File Copying at Long Last

When we came across the Reuters report this afternoon that the U.K. is poised to legalize copying CDs or DVDs onto MP3 players or computers for personal use, we were surprised not by the news but rather by the fact that privately transferring digital material from one device to another -- known as "ripping," "burning," or "format shifting" -- is still illegal in Britain. After all, it's legal in the U.S., provided the original CD or DVD is legitimately purchased and you don't give away the copies you make to others. In fact, Reuters tells us the practice is legal in all European countries except Britain, Ireland, and Malta.

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