For many, taking an old CD and ripping it onto iTunes is a standard thing to do. Just a normal activity that you’ll more than likely do after your morning coffee and before your late night Netflix binge, right?
Though the actual practise wasn’t legal until late last year (after the government made copying for personal use legal) the courts have now overturned the new law and made it illegal, once again.
Where does that leave us, you ask? Essentially it means that iTunes’ CD ripping feature is now illegal and simply popping a disc into a drive, to rip music for your iPod or iPhone, can be punishable by law.
In fact, due to iTunes promoting the feature in the first place, some music groups have claimed that they’re promoting illegal activity. Therefore the company could potentially face damage claims.
A spokesperson for the UK Intellectual Property Office told Torrent Freak:
“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.” While they specifically mention CD-to-MP3 conversion, this means any type of conversion is illegal. Finally getting around to transferring your old VHS tapes to DVD? Can’t do it. Bought one of those fancy vinyl-to-MP3 turntables? Unusable. It includes creating back-ups without permission from the copyright holder as this necessarily involves an act of copying.” In other words, if you legally purchase digital media online, you are now not legally allowed to back up that information on an external hard drive of any sort. In the long run, that means if your computer were to crash or get stolen, your only allowable course of action would be to re-purchase all your music and movies.”
He continued, adding: “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,” said the spokesperson, adding, The Government is not aware of any cases of copyright holders having prosecuted individuals for format shifting music solely for their own personal use.”
So, despite it being highly unlikely you’ll be taken to court, there’s still a chance you could be. As for whether you’d win or lose, we think the answer to that is quite obvious.