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Australia To Legalize VCR Recording and CD Ripping 352

paritosh writes "While the rest of the world is trying to figure out how to stop the assault of anti-consumer intellectual property laws, Australia is breaking free from them." From the article: "See, it is currently illegal in Australia to record shows off the telly, or to transferbangle (Australian for copy) music from CDs to portable music players. The end result is that a large portion of of the Australian citizenry are technically breaking the law, and while that may not sit poorly with a nation born of criminality, it makes the legal system look a tad bit ridiculous. Could you imagine shipping all of those offenders to Madagascar?"
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Australia To Legalize VCR Recording and CD Ripping

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  • by simpleguy ( 5686 ) on Saturday December 31, 2005 @03:30PM (#14371349) Homepage
    Heh! Looks like 2006 is gonna be a great year! Australia is already there.
    • Re:Ahead in time. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Ruff_ilb ( 769396 )
      Not really:

      Australia is simply catching up - this isn't a step past where we are now. We can already legally record onto VCRs and rip CD's, no?

      OTOH, this article does show that australia is willing to take an opposing stance to the normal sort of DRM mishmash going around the rest of the world.

      This is a dupe, too, iirc.
      • Or if you want to be literal, looking at the time-stamp on the original comment then technically Australia would have celebrated New Years ~4-5 hours prior to the post being made...
      • Broadcast flag and DRM.

        Right NOW it's sort of, more or less, in some situations, legal, but it's moving towards being illegal. Sounds like Australia has taken a step in the other direction. So though you're right, Australia seems to be closer to the bad, they're moving away from it, not towards.
    • [eyeing globe] Damn, you're right! Why can't America be 12 hours ahead for a change?? ;)

  • by Tim C ( 15259 ) on Saturday December 31, 2005 @03:30PM (#14371351)
    While that may be true in a sense, most of the current Australians are actually descended from the guards; the prisoners didn't tend to reproduce very much.
  • by dada21 ( 163177 ) * <adam.dada@gmail.com> on Saturday December 31, 2005 @03:34PM (#14371366) Homepage Journal
    I'm concerned about a government with a history of destroying basic rights with excessive laws trying to change those laws with more laws.

    I've heard promises from politicians every time I open a paper or turn on the news -- and those promises never bear fruit. I'm no Austrialian, but I wonder if this law that will "give" you a right (rights aren't granted by law) is really all they say it is, or if it is just a shill for the copyright-supporting cartels in some way.

    I guess only time will tell. I don't trust it and I don't believe it will help consumers in the long run, but here is one place I want to be proven wrong (with time!)
    • I'm going to go out on a limb and say that it is really about what you can do, and not what a law says you can or can't.

      There are plenty of laws in every country that are either not enforced, or are unenforceable because they're outdated and/or nobody knows it's illegal.

      In this case, Australians can get away with transferring music to portable players because no one is enforcing the law.

      The most draconian laws in the world are irrelevant if there is no will to enforce them at their highest level.
    • I've heard promises from politicians every time I open a paper or turn on the news -- and those promises never bear fruit.

      That's a given, sad to say. A chief job of the politician is to deceive. At the onset of the Republican control of Congress, we were deceived into believing that Republicans represent less government. Of course, that's only true when the Republicans are in the minority - but when they do get their hand on the wheel, money flows like water runs. Politicians don't get elected to office bec
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Take note of this: The laws should be shaped according to what the people want/deem illegal.

    • by ScrewMaster ( 602015 ) on Saturday December 31, 2005 @04:04PM (#14371485)
      Up to a point ... legalizing murder would probably cause more problems that it would solve, even if the vast majority of the population thought it was a good idea. And copyright holders are, after all, part of those people you're talking about. It would be very shortsighted of us to ignore their needs since they create things that we want! Or at least, own the rights to things that we want. Conversely, it is equally wrong to tilt things so far in their favor that the rest of us get hurt. We had struck a pretty decent balance here, for a couple hundred years. That's what got thrown out of whack recently.

      The issue (both here in the U.S. and in Australia) has less to do with the rights of the individual as it does with undue corporate influence in government. I don't know about Australia, but for a very long time the United States permitted limited duplication of copyrighted works by individuals. Fair use, and all that. Then, at the behest of some very large corporations that right was effectively nullified (oh sure, technically we still have it but in practice we don't ... just encrypt your data and fair use goes right out the window.) Too bad so many otherwise civilized nations have been modelling changes to their "intellectual property" laws after the way the United States' are now, rather than how they used to be.
      • (At least, according to my wife.)

        In many states - If you kill us, we kill you back;)
      • "many otherwise civilized nations have been modelling changes to their "intellectual property" laws after the way the United States".

        This has not been because they believe that this is the best "model" or solution, but because they have been arm twisted by the US government and it's shill the WTO. They in essence get denied "free trade" with the US unless they tow the party line.

        But some emerging economies like India, China and even Russia are stepping back and taking another look. And asking do we really
        • This has not been because they believe that this is the best "model" or solution, but because they have been arm twisted by the US government and it's shill the WTO. They in essence get denied "free trade" with the US unless they tow the party line.

          And who's fault is that? The world is full of bullies: if you can't stand up to a bully it's your problem, not his. More to the point, however, is the fact that corporate influence is just as big an issue in other countries as it is in the U.S., and the adopti
      • "And copyright holders are, after all, part of those people you're talking about. It would be very shortsighted of us to ignore their needs since they create things that we want!"

        Good point. Let's also keep in mind that musicians, authors, and poets traditionally make the lowest average income of any profession. How sad that many people want to marginalize them into oblivion. "I'll make copies of your work for free, and you'll have to fend for yourself by doing concerts and live readings -- well, goo

        • "I'll make copies of your work for free, and you'll have to fend for yourself by doing concerts and live readings -- well, good luck with that!"

          I thought you were talking about the publishers and recording industry there, then I realized that you didn't include anything about interfering with creative control.

    • I'd agree with that, if every member of the public were capable of forming a rational decision based on a fully informed view on every issue. Unfortunately, that's simply not practical. There are too many fields with laws applying for everyone to know everything about them. Also, a significant proportion of the population simply isn't smart enough to act in their own interests when it comes to more complex laws (this isn't a criticism of those people, it's simply a fact).

      I believe that this is why the mos

    • Take note of this: The laws should be shaped according to what the people want/deem illegal

      For this to truly work you need to have an interested population. If only half the citizens are voting, then you have about 1/4 of the population deciding what is best for everybody. What people want can change very quickly, as the majority are following sheep. For example, if you look at US history there is a cyclical pattern of religious revival, where a significantly vocal portion of the population moves towar
  • Well... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by vidarlo ( 134906 ) <vidarlo@bitsex.net> on Saturday December 31, 2005 @03:36PM (#14371373) Homepage
    Australia was originally a place for criminals. J/K aside, what Australia has , is interesting enough.

    But the big question in my eyes is not whatever they make unDRM'd material legal to copy. The interesting thing if is they do as USA (And as Norwegian government tried to do), to make it illegal to circumvent copyright protection measurments. If that's the case, they pretty much ensure it is still illegal to copy media, because most media seems to be DRM'd those days, or at least has potential to be.

    So to really make a difference, this has to legalize copying of any media, for non-commercial, private purposes, like listnening to it at your Personal Music Player. If they choose to do, it might stake out a path forward for other nations to follow.

    I'm also for a law on media, that discusses your right to the exemplar, or just a general license to use that piece of media as you see fit. I'm for the last option. Let me buy a CD, and thereby rights to MP3s, oggs, and even a new cd for the production-cost of the cd (e.g 1-2$) if I loose the first one. Such a general license would be a nice thing.

    • Today, it is actually illegal to circumvent "effective" drm measures. But, what is effective when it can be broken? Bah I say.
      • Today, it is actually illegal to circumvent "effective" drm measures. But, what is effective when it can be broken? Bah I say.

        Stupid argument. It should be legal to break DRM, if you're doing legal actions in the first place. Rather, there should be no need for drm, and as such, no need for legal protection. DRM is snake oil. It solves no problem. One won't have to understand a text to duplicate it; you can perfectly well duplicate a chinese newspaper without understanding a word of it. So can you with a

    • Re:Well... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by zsau ( 266209 )
      The interesting thing if is they do as USA (And as Norwegian government tried to do), to make it illegal to circumvent copyright protection measurments.

      One thing I've never understood, is what happens if these are purely software implementations, so that they don't work on non-Windows OSes. I've bought a few CDs that have apparently had DRM stuff on it, but I didn't know that while I was ripping it... but do the anti-circumvention laws consider it illegal if they only made an attempt for 95% of the market,
  • 'Transferbangle'? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by FireballX301 ( 766274 ) on Saturday December 31, 2005 @03:36PM (#14371374) Journal
    I suppose I'll go ahead and snark the glowboxy in order to transferbangle redundanmancy for general purposes.

    On a side note google gave only 2 hits for transferbangle, both dupes of this little blurb. So yeah, uh, made up words suck.
    • by Caspian ( 99221 ) on Saturday December 31, 2005 @03:43PM (#14371398)
      It's a perfectly cromulent word!
    • I suppose I'll go ahead and snark the glowboxy in order to transferbangle redundanmancy for general purposes.
      Is that you, Dubyah? Sounds like a bushism [about.com] to me.

      Love him or hate him, the man's got a unique way with words. I wonder if his daughters transferbangle?
    • Re:'Transferbangle'? (Score:2, Informative)

      by Arghdee ( 813921 )
      I'm Australian, and can honestly say no-one I know has ever used the word 'transferbangle'.
      What a crock of shit.
    • Clearly, you must Fosterize before reading the article.
    • by Frogbert ( 589961 ) <frogbert@NoSpAM.gmail.com> on Saturday December 31, 2005 @10:45PM (#14372906)
      My god as an Australian I found that article offensive. First they make up words that no one has ever heard, then they decided that all Australian is descended from criminals while blatently ignoring the fact that America was used as penal colony before Australia was. The whole thing is riddled with jabs at Australia. Is the American education system that bad or is the writer just willfully ignorant.
  • WTF? (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 31, 2005 @03:37PM (#14371380)
    These "Criminals" shouldnt be legalized, they should be fined and jailed! If people are allowed to use products they own in a way the "copyright" owners dont agree with, IT WILL BE THE END OF CIVILIZATION AS WE KNOW IT!

    civil disobedience, its whats for dinner.
  • by Blahbooboo3 ( 874492 ) on Saturday December 31, 2005 @03:45PM (#14371404)
    From the article: "Someone get that man a Foster's!"

    The author clearly knows NOTHING about Australia! :)
    In Australia you can't even find Fosters, and, if you can, no one drinks it as it's considered terrible beer.

    • You'll actually find that a lot of countries export their worst beer to the rest of the world. Brazil is another that comes to mind, though Fosters in Australia is probably the best example.

      One major exception I can think of is Ireland. Guiness still is the #1 beer in Ireland, and one of the most imported beers in other countries. However I have heard that Budweiser is starting to gain on Guiness for the #1 spot.
      • I don't drink anymore, BUT...

        When I used to drink, whilst guinness was the most offensively heavy beer I could ever imagine drinking, it actually felt like a real, distinctive drink and I would enjoy it for that reason. Fosters is absolutely disgusting and here in the UK not many sane people *enjoy* it.

        Still, now I can't stomach any alcohol whatsoever....
    • ...meanwhile, in an alternate, better, dimension:

      The author clearly knows NOTHING about the USA! :)

      In the USA you can't even find Budweiser, and, if you can, no one drinks it as it's considered terrible beer.
  • by superwiz ( 655733 ) on Saturday December 31, 2005 @03:46PM (#14371410) Journal
    everyone is a criminal is the most sure way to keep the despotism of "order". We all break speeding laws. Most people have broken drug control laws. Millions of people consume "illegal" copies of entertainment media. Police state is only possible if most citizens are in one way or another criminal. So the logic that the law is ridiculous seems almost to contradict the set course of modern society. How will the aussies keep the populas in line?
    • In aussie jailes they serve american beer.
  • CD Taxes (Score:3, Insightful)

    by canuck57 ( 662392 ) on Saturday December 31, 2005 @03:47PM (#14371417)

    But questions remain. There is a possibility that Australia may follow in Canada's footsteps, and levy a tax on other things to make up for "lost" revenues. For instance, a tax could be levied...CD...

    In Canada this sort of backfired on retailers. Hey, when you go over the border next week can you bring back lots of cheap media?

  • by Azreal ( 147961 ) on Saturday December 31, 2005 @03:54PM (#14371450)
    Technically a crime is whenever you break a law. But I have to wonder, at what point does a law become impotent? Take for instance the 18th amendment and the prohibition of alcohol. Something like 36 states ratified it, and yet almost everyone was ignoring it (especially the Kennedy's, which is where they made their fortune, in bootlegging). So the 21st amendment was eventually drafted repealing the 18th. If laws are something akin to a collectively agreed to moral pact that benefits and protects the majority of the citizens, isn't the law moot if the majority of the citizens choose to ignore said law?
  • Cool, Now I can toss out my DVR and get my old VCR's out of the attic and start recording. Anybody know where to find blank VHS tapes?
  • Won't the MPAA object to using their Intelectual Property like that? Besides, where would all those cute and cuddly 'toons live?
  • by eyebits ( 649032 ) on Saturday December 31, 2005 @04:01PM (#14371473)
    When a "transferbangle" doesn't worked because the source is DRM'd it becomes a "transferbungle."
  • by Dot.Com.CEO ( 624226 ) on Saturday December 31, 2005 @04:02PM (#14371480)
    That was, of course, the original "Final Solution". When it was calculated it would be too costly to ship millions of Jews to Madagaskar, the final solution as we know it came to pass.

    This detail, and other small (deliberate) errors in style and substance in the article, make me think this article is a huge troll and Zonk (who else?) fell for it.

    • by PhreakOfTime ( 588141 ) on Saturday December 31, 2005 @04:35PM (#14371602) Homepage

      Yes, Zonk fell for it. As he has before, and unless someone with a brain removes his editor stauts, he will again.

      One has to wonder how he was picked as editor, as he certainly does not represent the community in any way. It was laughable when he was new, but now when the whole slashdot frontpage is full of his 'stories' its just sad. Its not that I disagree with him, that wouldnt be an issue. The problem is that there is ZERO fact checking, and MASSIVE rewording of stories, so much as to make it sound like a completely different thing is going on. And that leads me to the conclusion that this guy is just a paid shill for someone.

      Try blocking his stories in your slashdot preferences. You can select which editors do and do not show up on your user page. I cant tell you how much of a difference it makes in the quality of slashdot by just removing that ONE editor

      • I think "Zonk" is just a code for when the other editors are extra drunk. I say "extra" drunk because their normal status seem to be somewhere between slightly tipsy and totally incapacitated.

        - Gee, Taco, I'm pisching drunk here. Schee thisch sctory here? I'm gonna appraprove it. *hic* Right nowish.
        - Slow down, Cowboy, you're too drunk. Go login as Zonk first and no one'll notice.
        - Good idea, bosch. I'm on it like... *hic* Whatever. Now, where did that wittle Schubmit button go? Here, button!

    • The article is indeed a troll, as well as a dupe [slashdot.org]. Thanks, Zonk, for being on the ball yet again.
  • by Weaselmancer ( 533834 ) on Saturday December 31, 2005 @04:03PM (#14371481)

    Fritz Hollings just suggested to W. that Australia probably has WMDs.

  • The scary part is (Score:5, Interesting)

    by zappepcs ( 820751 ) on Saturday December 31, 2005 @04:31PM (#14371583) Journal
    that Australia is not doing something special, they are simply catching up to most of the rest of the world as far as fair use goes. This should allow IMTS and others to open up for business there. The other scary part is that governments look at 'copyright industries' as a large tax source, so will always be overprotected.

    FTA: "We should have copyright laws that are more targeted at the real problem," Mr Ruddock said. "We should not treat everyday Australians who want to use technology to enjoy copyright material they have obtained legally as infringers where this does not cause harm to our copyright industries."

    I agree that treating everyday users as criminals is bad, but worse is treating 'copyright industries' as something special, something to be protected. This is not the way to encourage competition etc. There are so many different and important issues wrapped up in copyright protection and fair use that no single change will make everything ok. It will take many changes, most notably a change in attitude. When people are willing to get anything they can as cheap as they can find it, people will find a way to sell it to them, whether that is by pirating copies of movies and music or getting Chinese people to make clothes and durable goods at near slavery wages.

    Addressing simple issues of theft or fair use is not *THE* answer, entire business practices, including those of protectionist governments, need to be addressed. In the mean time, I'm afriad that the protected will continue to bully their way into even greater protected situations until things come undone completely.

    • [The scary part is] that Australia is not doing something special, they are simply catching up to most of the rest of the world as far as fair use goes.

      On the contrary, the scary part is that this is something special, and in many western jurisdictions today the above isn't deemed fair use (or whatever that jurisdiction's law calls the concept). In the UK, for example, AIUI it is technically legal to record a broadcast television programme for time-shifting purposes, but illegal to keep the recording lo

  • because everyone knows that linking to a post made on a Forum like Arstechnica is proof that the story is true.

    Why leftist anti-war protestors can claim they are right by linking to their blogs, and so can the Hawkish neo-cons link to their blogs.

    Before you know it, people will stop reading news websites and instead get all of their news from blogs and forums. Rumor, innuendo, yellow journalism, and whatever that 12 year-old wanker posts on their own blog is totally more believable than verified facts and e
  • by mark-t ( 151149 ) <markt@nerdflat.cTEAom minus caffeine> on Saturday December 31, 2005 @04:41PM (#14371628) Journal
    ... if they simply made copying for personal use exempt from copyright infringement, regardless of what facilities are used.

    That way, they don't tie the wording of the law to any particular technology.

    • We would all benefit if they converted copyright to saleright (meaning that you need a license/congressman to be allowed to make a profit by selling recordings/whatever) and drop copyright alltogether. Everyone should be able to make copies of things they would like to make copies of; just not make a profit (in-)directly by selling the copies.

      But I can dream... :P
      • The problem with this is that it would seriously screw the little guy, where someone (possibly a large corporation that doesn't care one way or the other) could just take what some small corporation produced and start to give it away for free, thereby cutting off their possibly only source of revenue.

        It's already bad enough that people don't respect copyrights today... if it were legal, it would be at least an order of magnitude worse.

        • It's already bad enough that people don't respect copyrights today... if it were legal, it would be at least an order of magnitude worse

          It's kind of hard to respect it when the bastards don't even bother TRYING to hide the fact that they're perverting the entire concept of it.

          Nothing's going to convince me that the artist's family needs to profit off ANY work for a minumum of four frelling generations (this assuming the artist drops dead immediately after finishing it)
          • It's worth noting that the most commonly disrespected copyrights these days are not on works whose copyrights really _ought_ to have expired by now but haven't only because of the gross extensions that certain corporations have put on copyrights, so I think that the point you are making is unfortunately largely moot. At any rate, it's certainly not worth disrespecting the copyright on modern works over -- at least in my opinion.

            You'll get no argument from me on the subject of older works that should have

            • Oh, I don't claim for a second that Joe Teenager is downloading the latest Korn MP3 to protest the fact that some Beatles song is still covered by it.

              My point was that complaining about people disrespecting copyright has two sides. I'm not going to condemn the downloaders, because AFAIC, the message is loud and clear: copyright laws are just another form of corporate welfare now. However they were originally intended, it doesn't matter now. As such, they're at morally invalid as far as I am concerned.
  • Abolish copyright (Score:3, Interesting)

    by richie2000 ( 159732 ) <rickard.olsson@gmail.com> on Saturday December 31, 2005 @05:25PM (#14371820) Homepage Journal
    It's about time someone takes a stand to abolish copyright as we've come to know it. It was all fine and good as long as the artists and writers benefited from their work, but the whole shebang has become too commercialized and streamlined it's not even funny anymore. It's all about focus groups, target audiences and enhancing the almighty bottom line by desperately trying to save dying business methods. Regular Joes are sick and fucking tired of being branded as criminals. Save that shit for the real gangstas, like the jaywalkers or people loitering with intent.

    *IAA, wake the fuck up and smell the coffee. As long as you try to usurp copyright for your personal profits, we'll try to abolish it. And you can take that to the bank.

    Pirates of the world - Unite!

    Power to peer to peer!

  • this news shifts the focus off the bad side of the laws which will adopt most of the crap that is US copyright, like making PS mods illegal, excessivly long copyright terms, and possible enforcement of DVD zoning. All of this is part of a package of crap changes forced on Oz as part of the FREE(?) Trade Agreement.
  • Uh...just what good is it to "legalize" VCR recording given the equipment has reached the end of it's lifetime?
  • by roman_mir ( 125474 ) on Saturday December 31, 2005 @08:17PM (#14372451) Homepage Journal
    Many people confuse these two things: fair use and copyright.

    Fair use helps the consumer, while copyright helps the producer.

    Fair use gives consumer of the product legal ability to use the product in many different ways, which sometimes require making copies of the product for a number of reasons, as long as large portions of the original product are not being distributed illegaly - giving away or selling copies of those copyrighted MP3s, books, movies is illegal if you did not ask the authors permission. When is it fair use? When you are making a backup copy for yourself, when you are transfering data to a different format, so you can listen to it in the car on your stereo, as opposed to your PC. Using portions of the copyrighted works for creating a parody is also fair use. I don't see any moral problems with this type of fair use.

    Copyright (normally time limited) protects the rights of the original author. What rights? The rights to a temporary monopoly on the distribution of the product. An argument that by copying you are not depriving the original author of anything is false. You are depriving the original author of the natural monopoly on the distribution by removing appearence of scarcity of the product. The product does not become less useful (noone wants a useless product,) but it makes the product appear WORTHLESS. Which obviously negates the possibility of the author retrieving the investment (s)he put into this useful work. In some cases not being able to retrieve the investment is very dangerous, as it may preclude the author from working on anything else that requires an investment - think multi-million dollar movies, think years and loans spent on writing successful novels/books, think years and money spent on software etc. Thus illegal distribution of copyrighted materials hurts the original authors by removing their ability of making money by removing monopoly on distribution and removing the appearence of scarcity, making the product worthless.

    --

    Obviously today large corporations are using copyright laws to make large amounts of money on products that by any natural process should already belong in the public domain. For example it can be argued that copyright should not extend to anyone, once the original creator is dead. Lawyers of large corporations can convince the judge otherwise, and this is dangerous, because it sets people's attitudes against all copyrights.

    Not everyone can afford spending years working on some highly desirable product and not make any money at the end, because the product becomes worthless in 3 weeks after the release.
  • My issue with it (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Guppy06 ( 410832 ) on Saturday December 31, 2005 @11:19PM (#14372974)
    "While the rest of the world is trying to figure out how to stop the assault of anti-consumer intellectual property laws, Australia is breaking free from them."

    When the United States Constitution was being drafted, Madison (et al) is on record as being opposed to the idea of having a Bill of Rights (it's my understanding that similar thinking kept a bill of rights out of Australia's federal government), as its existence implies that the Bill contains all the rights retained by the people and the states. He eventually had to backpedal a bit when he himself introduced the Bill of Rights to the first Congress, but even then they're carefully phrased in such away as to remove powers from government rather than giving them to the people ("Congress shall make no law..." instead of, say, Canada's "Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms...") and the Tenth Amendment was included.

    My problem with this law is that it implies that VCR recording and CD ripping were illegal to begin with, and it required legislative action in Canberra for the government to grant these rights to the people it's supposed to be subservient to (in practice if not necessarily in legal theory). Basically, this is the Australian federal government telling the people "We can take away your right to do with your property as you please, but we're feeling magnanimous today."

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