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Digital copies 'a consumer right'

Users demand the right to backups

Most consumers believe creating back-up copies of digital media is a right, suggests research announced yesterday by GartnerG2.

The analyst found that 82 per cent of US consumers questioned, believed creating backups is legal. A lack of these rights will negatively impact online media distribution for the next three to five years, the report claims.

"The reality is that current laws are vague, and content companies are pushing for strict control over consumer copying behaviour," said research director Mike McGuire.

"Until laws are passed allowing consumers the right to back up legally, uncertainty about the lack of basic archiving and backup capabilities will stunt growth of the online media distribution market for the next three to five years," he added.

One of Japan's largest record labels released copy-protected CDs back in March of this year and many companies, including electronics giant Sony, voiced their concerns. Likewise when US firm 321 Studios released software to allow DVD copying it faced a barrage of red tape and uncertain laws.

Today's CDs, at an average price of £16 each, have a life span of around 15 years compared to vinyl which has no life limit. Banning buyers from copying their CDs as backups for personal use seems the wrong way to go about improving sales. The music industry will need to work with the government, both here and in the USA, to provide an answer, before even more buyers turn their back on original copies in favour of music download sites such as Kazaa.

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