A few weeks ago the High Court overturned the private copying exceptions introduced last year by our government, and consequently once again made millions of us criminals. The “Intellectual Property Office” now declare that ripping a CD in Apple’s iTunes is no longer to be permitted. Also, believe it or not, it now becomes an offence to back up your computer if it contains mp3 files, even if you had previously legitimately purchased them. This is ridiculous when more and more of the smaller tablets from the likes of Google etc are actually designed to automatically back up into the cloud rather than save media in the devices’ own memory.

It was only as recently as last year that the government legalized copying of CDs, mp3s etc as long as it was for your own personal private use, ie:they confirmed in law that it was ok to download an mp3 from Amazon to your laptop and then subsequently transfer a copy of this file to your phone or mp3 player. This was something people had been doing for years anyway in the belief that it was legal. As of this recent new High Court ruling, copying any “intellectual property” in any shape or form “without the permission of the copyright owner” becomes a crime once more. This is thanks to the music publishers, who, desperate to maintain their monopoly have managed to succeed in convncing the High Court to ban any private copying.

“Torrentfreak.com” report the following:-

“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.The IPO specifically notes that copying a CD to an MP3 player is not permitted. This means that iTunes’ popular ripping feature, which Apple actively promotes during the software’s installation, 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. The law affects much more than just ripping CDs. Simply copying a song in an automated computer backup or storing a copy on a private cloud hosting service is now also against the law. Millions of people currently doing just that are now criminals.”

Apparently the Government isn’t happy with the High Court decision but it hasn’t decided whether it will propose revised private copying exceptions in the future. Copyright holders previously suggested allowing private copying in exchange for a tax on blank CDs and hard drives. Although currently there haven’t been any instances of copyright holders prosecuting people for simply “format shifting” music for their own personal use, due to these changes there are no guarantees that it won’t happen at some point in the future.