Personal use

There are limited private use provisions in the Copyright Act. These provisions include time shifting television or radio programs, space shifting sound recording, and format shifting other types of material. These provisions allow material to be copied in full.

Format and space shifting

The following conditions must be adhered to for all format and shape shifting.

  • You must own a copy of the material being reproduced.
  • The copy you own must be a legal copy (i.e. not pirated).
  • The purpose of the copying must be for your own private use.
  • Copies cannot be sold, hired, traded or given away, but can be lent to members of your family or household.
  • Copies must not be communicated, performed in public or broadcast.
  • You must not dispose of the orignal material copied.
  • Any incidental temporary copies made as part of the technical process should be destroyed as soon as practical.
  • It is not permitted to circumvent a technological protection measure.

Format shifting books, newspaper or periodical publications, photographs or films

The format shifting provisions apply to specific materials. Assuming the above conditions are meet they allow you to: 

  • copy a book, newspaper, periodical publication or photograph into a different format;
  • copy a film on videotape into an electronic format.

These provisions only allow for one copy to be made and the format must be different from the original, i.e. hardcopy to electronic or vice versa. For example, you can scan a hardcopy photograph into an electronic format but you cannot then print copies of the photograph. For films the provision only allows for the format shifting from hardcopy to electronic, e.g. videotape to DVD. 

Space shifting sound recordings

This provision is similar to format shifting but is broader in scope. Assuming the above conditions are meet it allows you to copy sound recordings into multiple formats as long as you own a playing device for that format. For example you can copy a vinyl record into a MP3 format to play on your phone and also copy it onto a CD to play in your car. The provision does not apply to radio broadcasts or similar items downloaded from the internet.

Time shifting television or radio programs

You may record a television or radio program for you, and your family or household, to view or listen to at a later time. This includes pay television programs as long as you have a current paid subscription to the service. Recordings may be made in any format. The intention of the provision is to allow you to view or listen to the broadcast at a more conventient time, it does not allow you to keep the recording indefinately for continued use. In addition you must not sell, hire, trade, give away, communicate, perform in public, or broadcast the recording.