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Sigh...ripping music and films is now illegal again


compact disc
Tools of villainy, these things...

It’s now illegal again for Brits to make copies of music and videos for personal use.

Back in October, new intellectual property laws meant ripping copyrighted CDs and DVDs that you already owned was within your rights as a consumer.

A new ruling issued by the High Court yesterday overturns that decision however, although there’s been no word on how the change will be enforced thus far.

According to the BBC, the decision came “after a legal challenge from Basca, the Musicians’ Union, and industry representatives UK Music.”

The report continues: “A judge ruled that the government was wrong legally when it decided not to introduce a compensation scheme for songwriters, musicians, and other rights holders who face losses as a result of their copyright being infringed.”

As a result of the 2014 regulation being quashed, copying CDs, MP3s, DVDs, Blu-rays, and e-books all fall on the wrong side of the law.

That means even if you’re just ripping one of your CDs to play digitally in iTunes or on your smartphone, you’re breaking the law.

You also can’t copy a CD you own with the intention of using one in your car and one in your house anymore.

Related: Best Music Streaming Service 2015

When the original changes were enforced last year, the Intellectual Property Office said it brought the UK’s IP law into the 21st century, speaking at the time.

“[The new law] will mean that the UK IP regime will now be responsive to the modern business environment and more flexible for consumers,” explained Baroness Neville-Rolfe, minister for Intellectual Property, last October.

Fortunately, it’s unlikely we’ll see a serious police crackdown on CD ripping anytime soon, as the BBC notes: “Court action was rare under the previous law and the industry often turned a blind eye to people copying data for personal use.”


July 18, 2015, 2:54 pm

Oh well, if we're going to be breaking the law anyway then we may as well go back to downloading illegally rather than paying to break the law.


Personally I'll stick with Spotify, although the music business seems determined to ruin that too.

Record companies need to die.

Prem Desai

July 18, 2015, 4:46 pm

It's all very well making it illegal to not copy/rip your own music - but how on earth is this going to be checked / policed? What is the punishment if caught? Not sure if the judge in question really thought this through.


July 20, 2015, 8:15 am

It is madness, clearly this has not been thought out or the legal team clearly do not understand the finer points of reality and the line between sensible ownership and fraud.

If you have an extensive CD collection you now cannot move your CD content onto your chosen Media Server? Notice I said move, because latest technology which has moved on from Vinyl and Cassette and now CD means we have the ability to play our entire library without physically having to keep changing the CD/Record etc.

There needs to be a distinction for personal use even more and the ability to be able to move is acceptable as an extension of ones library. Further I would imagine any DJ's who bring their own copies for performing of course would be illegally breaking the law for sure but that is a different scenario.


July 20, 2015, 10:06 am

There are two problems with this ruling. 1)It ignores reality. 2)It actually harms the copyright holders.

1)It ignores reality. People were ripping music and videos from personal discs before the law allowed it last October. They carried on doing it after the law allowed it. And they will carry on doing it after the law changes again to prohibit it. This is like King Cnut yelling at the tide. The law is in no position to allow or disallow this behaviour that is simply a fact of life.

2)It harms copyright holders. The alternative to ripping music from CDs and listing to it on your computer or mp3 player is not that people will buy CDs and then also purchase a downloadable copy on iTunes. The alternative is that people will not buy CDs at all. Who, nowadays, buys a CD to listen to the music directly from the disc? Almost no-one, because the disc is just a delivery mechanism for digitized music. If the law were enforced and ripping was seriously no longer an option, people would just stop buying CDs. Then they might buy from iTunes, or stream from services like Spotify (which the music industry doesn't like very much) or pirate it (which the music industry hates).


July 20, 2015, 11:47 am

Meh, as you were. Surprised they haven't outlawed photocopiers too. Ridiculous.

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