Proposed changes to the copyright laws will impose strict new limits on the use of material recorded from TV and CDs. Under the proposed changes announced over the weekend by the Attorney-General Philip Ruddock, it will only be permissible to watch a recording from TV once, after which that recording will have to be deleted. It will also make illegal the time-honoured tradition of lending recorded copies of favourite shows and sporting events to family and friends who missed them on television. The changes will overwrite the current laws which currently make it illegal to record anything from the TV or off a CD. Ruddock said the plans would make laws fairer for consumers and tougher on copyright pirates. "These are commonsense amendments which will maintain Australia's copyright laws as the best in the world, for the benefit of our creators and other copyright owners," he said. The changes will also legalise format-shifting of material including music, newspapers and books onto iPods or other MP3 players. That means you will be allowed to transfer tracks from your legally-owned CDs onto, say, your iPod. But you will not be permitted to make a compilation CD from other CDs. Under the Government's guidelines, it appears that it will be legal to, for instance, burn a copy of MP3 downloads onto a CD or DVD. But the new laws will not mandate the making of back-up copies of CDs. A format-shift copy needs to be in a different audio format to the original. The Government said it will consider the issue of copy protection applied to CDs. Under the changes, however, no such format-shifting will be allowed with DVDs. While you can dub a video onto a DVD, you will not be permitted to, for instance, transfer a DVD film onto your computer or onto a portable video device. The Government says it will "monitor the implementation of the scope of the format-shifting". The new laws will also: • Provide new exceptions allowing schools, universities, libraries and other cultural institutions to use copyright material for non-commercial purposes • Provide new exceptions for people with disabilities to allow access to copyright materials • Allow the use of copyright material for parody or satire On the piracy front, Mr Ruddock said the laws would provide new enforcement measures to combat copyright piracy, including on-the-spot fines, proceeds of crime remedies, and a change in presumptions in litigation to make it easier to establish copyright piracy. All the new anti-piracy measure have not yet been spelt out, but the Government has commissioned the Australian Institute of Criminology to undertake research on the nature and extent of piracy and counterfeiting in Australia. Concerned about the possible involvement or organised crime in large-scale piracy, the Government will be referring this issue to the board of the Australian Crime Commission for its consideration.