Justice minister threatens to ban CD “copy protection”

Sweden's justice minister, Thomas Bodström, has called for record companies to stop copy-protecting CDs. In a move which will stoke up the country's increasingly heated copyright protection debate, Bodström has said that if the industry continues to put blocking technology on new music CDs, the government will make it illegal.

“Obviously it should be possible to make a copy of your own newly-purchased CD for an mp3 player, or to make an extra copy of the CD to have in the car,” he argued on the Swedish Television web site.

A controversial proposal before the Swedish parliament recommends introducing tougher laws against downloading and sharing copyright-protected music, films and games.

Thomas Bodström is firmly behind the recommendations, saying that “authors, artists, musicians, composers and film-makers should have the right to be paid for what they create in a digital medium too”.

But, writing with fellow members of parliament Hillevi Larsson and Tasso Stafilidis, the justice minister now says that those rights must be balanced against the rights of individuals to use the material they have paid for.

“When the copyright is strengthened, it is extra important that this doesn’t reduce the options to to copy legal material for private use, through the copyright owners “locking” material with copy blocking,” they said on SVT.

“The industry must ensure that the option to copy for private use is not hindered by technical means.”

The music industry itself says that the proposal makes sense. Magnus Mårtensson, a lawyer at the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), told The Local that people should be able to copy music for personal use.

“We totally agree with Bodström,” he said.

“The whole point is that you should technically be able to do the copying you’re allowed to do. Two years ago this was more of an issue, but now there is only one record label in Sweden which still copy protects its CDs.”

The Swedish parliament will vote on the new downloading and sharing laws on Wednesday 25th May. Thomas Bodström said that the government will be on the look out for any use of copy prevention technology which may follow.

Sources: SVT,