Why it will soon be legal to backup your music collection

by , MP3 Players 01/04/2014
Copyright guidelines

Whether it’s a selection of your favourite songs for a long summer holiday drive or a mix CD to relax to it might surprise you to hear that copying, or ‘ripping’ tracks from a CD to your PC is still illegal. The idea that listening to your own music collection could be against the law seems rather old fashioned in this digital age and, thankfully, the government has finally agreed.

On 1 June 2014 changes to existing copyright law will finally relax the restrictions surrounding the copying and duplication of your CD and DVD collection. Below we guide you through the updated laws so you can copy your CDs and DVDs without feeling the long arm of the law.

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Changes to copyright law and guidance

The government, via the UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO), is making a series of changes to copyright law that it claims will ‘make it better suited for the digital age’.

This means that you’re free to copy the contents of a CD, or DVD, on to your PC, tablet, phone and any other computing device – though only for personal use. If nothing else this at least means that anyone copying a CD to their phone is no longer breaking the law.

You still can’t share the music. So, no mix tapes, CDs or USB stick filled with romantic sounds. According the IPO, the only way to legally hand music over to a friend is to delete every remaining copy of it you own. Therefore turning the album or film into a gift in the eyes of the law.

Other copyright changes that might affect you

Of course some DVDs and CDs come copyright protected making it much harder to make a copy. So-called Digital Rights Management (DRM) is often used to protect the copyright of film and music studios. This will typically result in a message popping-up to tell you that the material you’re trying to move from a disc to a PC is protected and therefore unmovable.

Under the new IPO guidelines however, owners of content can actually challenge overzealous DRM by making a complaint to the Secretary of State. Therefore, if you’ve bought every episode of Game of Thrones, for example, on DVD and want to watch it on your iPad, you should be allowed to do so.

Obviously, writing to the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills every time you want to copy a CD is a little impractical; both for you and Vince Cable. Instead, this should hopefully encourage production houses and music firms to provide digital copies of TV shows and movies with DVD and Blu-ray releases. A trend that is already growing.

Visit the IPO’s official website for a complete and detailed explanation of the new regulations.

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James Bryant

Does this only apply to music and video? What about ebook files?

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