For the last three years FairPlay has concerned itself with fighting unfairness (and even outright crime) against consumers in the world of gaming, and successfully bringing an end to some of that unfairness. Now we're going to try to reverse the law's default treatment of ALL consumers as criminals. Our latest action will have consequences reaching right across the sphere of copyright legislation.

Our aim is to restore to consumers the rights of "fair use", which have been in practice destroyed by laws like the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and the European Union Copyright Directive.

We plan to do this not by lobbying with the power of reason and persuasion - current governments have shown themselves time and again to be immune to logic, reason or overwhelming public opinion - but by creating a situation whereby the contradictions in the current laws are exposed in such a manner than the laws as they are currently applied will become unworkable and unenforceable. Don't worry, it's easier than it sounds.

If you just want to know what we need YOU to do to help us, you can skip ahead at this point by clicking here. If you want to understand the background and reasoning behind our plan, read on.


The problem with current legislation is that it's at odds with the legal nature of "intellectual property". When you buy a game, movie or music album, you're not buying the disc it comes on. What you're buying is a licence to play, watch or listen to that particular piece of work, irrespective of the medium it come on. If that medium becomes damaged or corrupted (as all media does over time), you are legally entitled to have the medium replaced, at cost, by the company who sold you the licence, in order that you can continue to exercise your purchased right to enjoy the piece of work.

Your licence lasts for life. (Indeed, it is an asset like any other, and can be transferred to someone else at any other time.) It doesn't matter if the hardware standard becomes obsolete, it doesn't matter if the publisher goes bust, it doesn't matter if the copyright expires - nothing can remove your legal right to enjoy the work you've purchased until the end of time.

Of course, if the publisher goes bust, there's no-one you can get a new copy from. So alternatively, in the case of computer software (which also includes console games for platforms like the Playstation 2 and Xbox), the law in many nations (including the UK) specifically and explicitly permits you to make a backup copy yourself, in order to protect your licence. If your original disc, cartridge or whatever becomes corrupted or damaged, you're entitled to use the backup in order to continue enjoying the work.

However, the recent measures in copyright legislation have effectively removed this right - even though the right itself remains in law. Hardware manufacturers and software publishers implement "protection" measures which prevent consumers from making the backup copy they're legitimately entitled to. Accordingly, the consumer has to use third-party means (such as copying programs like Alcohol 120% or "modchips" fitted to the consoles themselves) to circumvent the protection and exercise their right.

But since the latest changes to the law, those third-party means have all been ruled to be illegal. Therefore, the consumer cannot exercise their legally-enshrined rights, without breaking the law in order to do so. Clearly, this flat-out contradiction in the law is an absurd state of affairs which cannot remain in place.

The solution >>