Backups and utter bollocks

Writing in PC Zone, Stuart Campbell makes an interesting point:

According to Section 50(A) of the 1988 Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, legal purchasers of computer games are explicitly permitted to make a backup copy of their purchase.

Yet ELSPA, the industry body for the games industry, ties itself in knots trying to get round that:

Am I legally entitled to make a backup of my original software?
The rules regarding back up copies apply to software; they do not apply to other copyrights such as film and sound recordings. Since computer games comprise of a number of such rights, the answer so far as computer games is concerned is that making a back up copy is not a permitted act under copyright law.

And thanks to our wonderful new copyright laws that make it illegal to bypass copy protection, Stuart points out that:

if you exercise your legally-enshrined right to make a backup of your legally-purchased game, you are automatically and necessarily breaking the law, with a maximum penalty of two years imprisonment. Hmm. Bit of a mixed message being sent out there, don’t you think?

Stuart’s been a busy chap. On a related note, he points out that the current “Pirate DVDs fund Osama Bin Laden!” campaign is complete and utter bollocks. He makes a good point about the laws being used to crack down on legit purchasers rather than criminals, and if I wasn’t currently trapped underneath a giant scary deadline I’d throw my own comments in here. I’ll come back to this, I’m sure.

[Via NTK]