For years it has been considered a breach of copyright to make a copy of any of the media that we buy even if it is purely for personal use; this includes books, CDs, eBooks, DVDs etc. However, under new changes to the copyright laws, consumers are now allowed to make a copy of any of the media that they purchase, provided it is to be used for their own personal use.
The UK Intellectual Property Office first published its intention to change guidelines to copyright earlier in 2014 and says the laws have been changed to reflect the digital age and how people consume media.
As an example, people can now make a copy of a CD that they have brought and upload it to an MP3 player and consumers can create back up discs. However, it remains unlawful to make copies of media that have been brought by friends or family, and consumers cannot copy media that they do not own, or that they have obtained illegally. This means that people cannot make a copy of a CD that they are borrowing from a friend or videos or CDs that have been downloaded from file sharing sites.
In a speech about copyright laws in July, Baroness Neville-Rolfe said:
”… I turn first to the regulations on personal copies for private use, which will give consumers greater freedom to enjoy creative content in Britain in a modern way. For example, this change would allow someone to copy a CD they have bought, or been given as a gift, in order to listen to it on their iPad. It would allow someone to copy an electronic document or book which they own from one of their personal devices to another. This measure has wide public support, with consumer surveys showing that most people think this type of activity is reasonable. The Government agree. Copyright law should not stand in the way of people being able to use and enjoy their own property. The rule will be that if you lawfully own it, you can copy it, as long as you do not give copies to other people…”
Under the amended copyright laws, individuals are also permitted to copy any discs that they own onto a storage device such as an iPod or in online storage, but consumers can’t allow anyone else to make copies or give others permission to access the material; borrowed or rental copies of discs and music obtained from streaming services cannot be copied.
Consumers are still permitted to sell on CDs and DVDs that they have made copies from, but they can only sell the original copy, and if anyone sells on a disc, they must destroy any copies that they have made.
These new changes to copyright laws have been broadly welcomed, but many commentators say that these laws have been introduced far too late and should have been changed some time ago.