December 12 2003 New copyright regulations took effect on 31 October 2003. The Copyright and Regulated Rights Regulations 2003 implements the EU Copyright Directive and specifically takes into account new technologies such as digital copying and transmissions over the internet.

Under the Regulations, most copying for commercial purposes will no longer be permitted. Users who download information that is stored permanently must pay for it or have been authorised. However, some forms of computerised copying such as browsing the web and downloading temporarily to view a webpage on a computer will not infringe copyright provided the copy has no economic value.

One of the most controversial provisions concerns tampering with technical protection devices on CDs and DVDs such as passwords or scrambling devices. Under the Regulations, it is an offence to knowingly tamper with such devices and to make or sell items that are designed to do so.

There are also criminal sanctions for anyone operating a website which offers software or other copyright work without licence.