Politicians voted in a new law last year that allowed people to burn copies of music and film they had bought for private use. The previous law made any of this illegal, meaning you were technically breaking the law when you ripped a copy of CD to use in the car or burn DVDs onto a laptop to watch later. All of that has now been changed – again.
Once again, any products you buy such as DVDs and CDs can no longer be copied onto other devices, including MP3 players, PCs, phones and anything else that is deemed a copy. Under the previous law that was brought into place in October last year, you could do this for private use, allowing you to copy films and movies onto your digital libraries on your private devices.
Legal challenges came from the likes of UK Music, who are industry representatives, along with the Musicians Union Basca, which led to the overruling from the High Court. This is due to the copyright infringement that would be a result of the new law, which was though to cost as much as £58 million for those working in the industry that would not be compensated by the new law.
The judge of the High Court therefore agreed that artists would have to have been compensated for their work as it could now be copied. The government introduced no such measures in the law, leading to ruling in the favour of the artists, songwriters, musicians and rights holders who would therefore make losses.
Despite the overruling, it is unclear around how it can be enforced, as there are minimal accounts of people facing legal action for such actions. This is why the Copyright and Rights in Performances (Personal Copies for Private Use) Regulations 2014 was put into place. However, now it is again illegal to make any copies of the likes of DVDs and Blu-rays, CDs and MP3s and even eBooks.
The victory is seen as a positive one for the industry, as CEO of UK Music Jo Dipple explains:
"Last month, the High Court agreed with us that government acted unlawfully when it introduced an exception to copyright for private copying without fair compensation. We therefore welcome the court's decision today to quash the existing regulations.
It is vitally important that fairness for songwriters, composers and performers is written into the law. My members' music defines this country. It is only right that government gives us the standard of legislation our music deserves. We want to work with government so this can be achieved”
While the law should not affect parody and joke versions of popular tracks, teachers and writers may need to be careful. Using material on the likes of interactive white boards or quoting it in articles for writers could have consequences in relation to the law.
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