Format shifting

Format shifting is a term used to mean moving content from one format to another, such as a music CD to MP3s stored on a computer. It can also be called 'personal copying'.

When the user has already bought the material, the case for viewing format shifting as copyright infringement seems technical. Nevertheless, copyright lobby groups have made it clear that they want compensation - in the form of levies on iPods or consumable media - in return for an exception. They also wish to be able to charge cloud services for 'format shifting' or file storage of users' copyright files.

Format shifting is not currently legal in the UK. The Intellectual Property Office is considering a legal change as a result of the Hargreaves Review. They have recently produced evidence on the economic charging for format shifting rights, and found little evidence that it was being charged for. This undermines the case for compensation.

See also