The UK Government’s tirade against common sense has hit absurd levels and shown how outdated the copyright legal framework is. Towards the end of last year, the UK’s infamous Intellectual Property Office acknowledged how Draconian the law was and decided to make CD ripping legal. Only a few months later, this measure was revoked after several music labels protested in the High Court.
To find out what these changes actually entailed, TorrentFreak requested information from the IPO. A spokesperson clearly said,
“It is now unlawful to make private copies of copyright works you own, without permission from the copyright holder – this includes format shifting from one medium to another.”
This means that the integrated ripping feature in iTunes makes it an illegal piece of software and no different to downloading any pirated content. The software is in direct contravention of copyright law. Even more laughable, the law also applies to backups and cloud-based storage. A Government official explained,
“…it includes creating back-ups without permission from the copyright holder as this necessarily involves an act of copying,”
Technically, the law forces you to repurchase any physical media content if you want to use a portable, digital version. Stupid measures like this only encourage piracy and make consumers feel like criminals. If the music industry offered cross purchasing, or an open model, people would be less inclined to illegally download content. Spotify is the perfect example of a pro-consumer measure which has a positive effect and can reduce the piracy rate.
The Government themselves even admitted how silly the law is and said,
“As this is a complex area of law, the Government is carefully considering the implications of the ruling and the available options, before deciding any future course of action.”
“The Government is not aware of any cases of copyright holders having prosecuted individuals for format shifting music solely for their own personal use,”
Despite the reassurances, it is perfectly legal and feasible for anyone to be sued by copyright holders for backing up their physical media collection, or using iTunes. Governments change but their out-of-touch laws and pathetic pandering to media companies remains the same.
Thank you TorrentFreak for providing us with this information.