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iTunes Illegal under UK Copyright Law

Written by Thomas Mould on 10 August 2015

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Last year the UK Government legalised copying for private use, a practice which many people thought to be legal before this legalisation..

The UK Intellectual Property Office noted that the changes were “in the best interest” of consumers and that they would bring copyright law into the 21st century.The new regulation was short-lived.

Fearing a loss of income, several music groups objected at the High Court, which subsequently agreed that the new legislation is unlawful.

As a result the changes were overturned last month and the previous limitations were reinstated.

“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,” a spokesperson for the UKIPO stated.

The IPO specifically notes that copying a CD to an MP3 player is not permitted. This means that iTunes’ ripping feature is illegal.

Also, under the current law iTunes is actively facilitating copyright infringement by promoting their CD-ripping functionality. This means that the company could face significant claims for damages.

Further Effects

Simply copying a song in an automated computer backup or storing a copy on a private cloud hosting service is also against the law.

“…it includes creating back-ups without permission from the copyright holder as this necessarily involves an act of copying,” it was stated by the Government spokesperson.

The Government notes that that people shouldn’t be too concerned because copyright holders are not known to come after people who make a backup of their computers.

“The Government is not aware of any cases of copyright holders having prosecuted individuals for format shifting music solely for their own personal use,” the IPO spokesperson says.

However, copyright holders can take people to court over both CD-ripping and computer backups, if they want to.

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