Shakeup of 'absurd' copyright law demanded

More than 50 percent of Britons are infringing UK copyright laws by copying CDs for private use, the National Consumer Council has warned

The National Consumer Council (NCC) has called for a revision of UK copyright laws to enshrine the right to copy material for private use.

The consumer organisation highlighted the results of a YouGov poll from April that found 55 percent of British adults copy CDs onto equipment such as their computer or iPod. Only 19 percent of those surveyed realised they do not have a legal right to make these copies.

UK copyright law does not allow people to reproduce copyrighted material -- including CDs and DVDs -- for private use, a situation the NCC described as "absurd". The issue also affects businesses, as employees may copy CDs onto office computers.

"The law is out of step with modern life and discriminates unfairly against consumers -- putting unrealistic limits on their private listening and viewing habits," the NCC said in a statement. 

Late last year the British government launched an independent review of the UK's intellectual property framework. The review, led by Andrew Gowers, former editor of the Financial Times, is to examine various aspects of IP legislation including patent and copyright law.