The Government today announced "sweeping" reforms to copyright law meaning it will no longer be illegal to copy files from a CD or DVD onto a computer for personal use.

Millions of people already transfer files from their discs to a computer or MP3 device, wrongly assuming it is legal.

Business Secretary Vince Cable says the move will bring copyright law into line with the "real world", and within consumers' "reasonable expectations".

These recommendations, which the Government is adopting, were initially made in May 2011 by Professor Ian Hargreaves in his report, Digital Opportunity: A review of intellectual property and growth.

Mike O'Connor, chief executive at lobby group Consumer Focus, says: "This is a long-awaited victory for common sense. Copyright law is outdated, it does not reflect the way people use music, films and e-books today.

"It is nonsensical that over a decade since MP3 players appeared on the market 'ripping' CDs and films remains illegal.

"People buying CDs, DVDs and e-books understandably think they should have the right to play what they have paid for on their MP3 player or computer."

A feasibility study will now begin to establish how a new law will work. The Government will announce arrangements later in the year. It is unlikely to become law before 2012.