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What You’re Allowed To Do Format shift books, newspapers, periodicals (i.e magazines) and photos This should only be for your own private and domestic use. Technically this should be a single copy, however; if you format shifted a book — and the law suggests you’d have to scan it yourself to do so — you could only do so once within the bounds of copyright law. Format shift sound recordings Again, this should be for private and domestic use, as well as “space shifting” — for example, copying a CD to an MP3 player for when you’re out jogging. Time shift radio and TV for viewing at a later date This is a single-use (that is, one viewing) rule with rather rubbery timing provisions. You’re most certainly not allowed to keep a long-term library of radio or TV programs. Format shift analogue video Still have a VHS copy of Cliffhanger? You can create a digital copy of it entirely legally, if you must. Share those single copies (or show/present them) to members of your household or family But not externally to others — “broadcasting” in other words. Make a backup copy of a computer program This should be for use in place of the original copy if it is lost or destroyed — but this isn’t automatic, and can be very complex, as I’ve outlined below. Do whatever the licence provisions of a “digital” service allows you to do. iTunes Music, for example, allows you to burn a copy to CD under its terms and conditions; that’s perfectly legal as (essentially) the copyright holder is granting you permission to do so. The same applies to any digitally delivered service; when you sign up to the contract to use the service, you’re bound by the terms of that contract and the rights it grants you. This is especially important in terms of software, where often you are not “buying” a product, but acquiring a “licence”. What You’re Not Allowed To Do Rip DVDs or Blu-ray discs DVDs are already a digital format, and, as such, the current provisions of copyright as they relate to format shifting don’t apply except in very specific circumstances; there are research provisions that may allow copying, as well as special cases for those with disabilities. Still, as the law stands, you’re not permitted to rip DVDs that you own; the format shifting provision is quite explicit in dealing with “videotape” for the purposes of format shifting. (Some people erroneously assume that you can copy DVDs if they don’t have copy protection, but that’s not actually the case.) Download Content you “already own” The format shifting provisions are fairly explicit about this; you’re allowed to format shift, but only from your own copy. Grabbing a copy from an online source isn’t, legally speaking, permitted. Make “Backup Copies” Of Games This is (from a layman’s perspective) a slightly odd legal corridor; essentially speaking, you are allowed to make a backup copy of a computer program, but (unless the license says otherwise), that only covers the software aspect, and not other elements such as artwork, music or video contained within. Circumvent copy protection This relates more to provisions of the Fair Trade Agreement with the US and its effects on Australian law (although that’s under review). If a copyright holder puts in some kind of technological protection method (no matter how flimsy), then you’re not legally permitted to make a copy of that content, even if copyright law would otherwise permit you to do so. Interestingly, the region protection on DVDs doesn’t count as a protection method as far as the law is concerned, although that’s somewhat moot given that you’re not permitted to rip DVDs anyway. Keep infringing copies if you no longer own the original. You can’t buy a book, scan a copy and then head down to the second-hand bookstore, in other words.