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A High Court ruling has quashed the changes in the law brought by the government last year, meaning it's no longer legal to make a copy of your own CDs, DVDs and Blu-rays.

Music industry organisations had challenged the ruling, which last year ruled it was finally legal to make back-up copies of your CDs, DVDs and Blu-rays for personal use.

The Musicians’ Union, UK Music, and the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors (Basca), argued the change to the law hadn't delivered a fair compensation scheme for rights owners for the harm caused by "private copying infringements".

The High Court has agreed with the music industry, ruling the changes the government made "unlawful" due to the lack of any form of compensation.

MORE: Copyright law - one step forward, two steps back

Mr Justice Green ruled: "It is clear I should quash the regulations. I make clear that this covers the entirety of the regulations and all of the rights and obligations contained therein."

The government had argued there was no case for compensation, as the new measures would cause little or no harm but UK Music, the Guardian reported, said the new law would mean a loss of revenues for rights owners of £58m a year.

More after the break

MORE: Best CD players 2015

The change to the law which allowed people to make copies of legally bought music for personal use came into force last October under the Copyright and Rights in Performances (Personal Copies for Private Use) Regulations 2014 - even if most people were unaware that copying CDs had strictly been illegal before then.

The law is now back to square one, making copying of any kind illegal - including digital files and eBooks, as well as CDs, DVDs and Blu-rays.

The music industry wants a tax to be applied to blank CDs, hard drives, memory sticks and other blank media, which could then be shared among rights holders. This system is already in place in some European countries.

Jo Dipple, CEO of UK Music, said: “Last month, the high court agreed with us that the government acted unlawfully when it introduced an exception to copyright for private copying without fair compensation. We therefore welcome the court’s decision today to quash the existing regulations. It is vitally important that fairness for songwriters, composers and performers is written into the law. My members’ music defines this country.”

Pushpinder Saini, representing the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, had argued that no credible evidence existed to suggest that the impact to rights holders “would be anything other than minimal”.

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Friesiansam's picture

How is it going to make any difference?

Whether or not copying/making back-ups for personal use is legal or not, makes no difference to people's behaviour.

wimmer's picture

No charge!

Applying a 'Blanket tax' on CD's hard drives etc would mean that I would be paying tax on any new business machines that are bought. These may have no songs, video or anything created by anyone else, (my mine don't), apart from paid for software and business accounts. Also many businesses create CD's and DVD's  for customers, why should tax be paid on these blank CD's. Who would distribute any tax to those wothy of it (and those not)?

alex30's picture

The difference is in the compensation.

People's behaviour will indeed be what it is but if each unit of memory - be it CD or flash drive-carries an additional tax to compensate the copywright owners then that is where the difference will be seen.  

In effect the copier will be paying a small amount for the privilidge of backing up their data, be it music, films, or their own personal stuff.

utomo's picture

Tax applied to blank CDs,

Tax applied to blank CDs, hard drives, memory sticks and other blank media is too much. how if we did not store music ? 

It is better if they fight with the Torrent search engine and other website 

lpv's picture

Impossible task to fight with

Impossible task to fight with torrents...  even if they had any success in the past new torrent sites appear and are stronger than ever. 

I wonder what's the torrent ( or any other free download site) to 'paid copy sale' ratio. 

Jota180's picture

The music industry can suck

The music industry can suck my spuds.  Their argument that every illegal download equals a lost sale is patently wrong since many people would not buy most of the music they download.  No lost sales then.

Then you have the older person who has already bought the album on vinyl, cassette then CD and these tramps from the music industry want us to buy a separate copy for every medium we play it on?  Aye, righto.

And where is their evidence for "harm caused" by people making a copy of the CD they bought?

All these music execs will do is create real resentment towards the music industry and people will stick two fingers up to them.

AlbaBrown's picture

Oh the irony

For an industry that is so disgusted with the idea of consumers making copies of their own purchased goods, they seem perfectly happy for their "artists" to copy n paste a chorus for 3 minutes and call it song writing! Also are when you buy a CD are you purchasing a licence or are you buying goods? If it's a licence, I've lost CDs over the years so maybe I should go to the industry and demand a replacement?

Ragworm's picture


Just out of interest, is there anyone from the music industry on this forum and reading this? Given that we are the people most likely to actually pay for our music, have you considered entering into a dialogue to see what we want and what we would find acceptable?

djh1697's picture

Xiva musicm8

I use one of these to store my CD's, will the police be raiding my house?

In the 1980's WHF had adverts stgating "Home Taping is illegal, and killing the music industry", question, did it ?

utomo's picture

Sorry, OOT.Now the CD Sales

Sorry, OOT.
Now the CD Sales is less. Do we will see more player with Internal Storage/ Hardisk ? 
I hope more internal Storage come to market. which I think it is better than the external hardisk.

Just my 2c 

Graham Luke's picture


Get an ol' Pianola an' be done with it.

MC48's picture

My understanding is that

My understanding is that copyright of music - records and songs - lasts for 70 years after the death of the originator. How many others, apart from authors, enjoy this privilige? It means that their grandchildren will still be receiving royalties. While I think it is reasonable for a widow to get royalties, why should the grandchildren, or even their great-grandchildren? The music industry does not realise how fortunate it is.

Danny Butts's picture

CDs ! are they still a thing?

When MP3s came out I started borrowing music that I had bought on both vinyl and then CDs. This way of aquiring music turned out so easy and cost effective I started borrowing music I hadnt bought.

now for convenience, I pay a small subscription to keep on borrowing music. When I decide I no longer want or can afford it i'll stop paying and the industry can have its music back.


BTW, I dont know why all this is big and bold Sad

Danny Butts's picture

oh! bold format seems to have not carried over into post


PeterLanky's picture

Music Industry Greed

The music industry appears to want to have it's cake and eat it. We have been told for years that when we bought an LP/Cassette/CD, we were buying artistic creativity rather than a lump of plastic. Fine, I have no problem with that, but then they want to move the goalposts and tell us that in fact we have not really bought anything, and if we buy a different formet, we pay again. Most people have grudgingly accepted that, and replaced parts of their old collection with new media, even though a fair proportion of it has simply been copied to CD with no extra work or effort from the music industry other than counting the cash flow. In fact many CDs are of dreadful quality, but we are expected to still keep stumping up.

Now however we have moved on, and soon the CD will be history for serious music lovers. All my CDs now sit neatly tidied away in a cupborad having been ripped as flac files to be streamed through my digital streamer. Does the music industry seriously think that I should pay again for all those rips?

Of course it is the greed of the music industry that has caused so many of the younger generation to simply bypass the system and copy the digital files from anywhere they see fit. Had music selling been more fair, this would probably never have happened to the same extent, and of course many of this younger generation have little concept of sound quality so the fact that they are poor quality MP3s doesn't bother them.

The music industry doesn't have a right for every member of it to have great wealth, but seems to believe that it should. It is an industry where there is very little correlation between talent and wealth, and it seems to me that it is the talentless wealthy who do all the complaining, rather than the talented poor.


Andrew Dutton's picture

Will I be compensated for those CDs I don't use for music?

I understood that when we buy a piece of music, in whatever format, we were buying the rights to play that piece of music.  Assuming that's correct, why would we have to pay again for the right to copy that piece of music to CD for playback on a CD player, if we have already purchased the right to play it as an MP3, or tape cassette, or vinyl record, or minidisc album, or whatever?  

If I break a CD, I can't take the broken pieces or badly scratched disc back to the store for a discount on re-buying that CD, since I already paid for the rights to play it - I have to pay over again.  For that reason I make a security backup of my original CD and play that rather than the original, so I don't destroy my original media.  I think it's only reasonable to permit me to take proper care of my musical investment.

I play saxophone, and sometimes record the music I've played on my computer.  This I then sometimes choose to record to a CD for playback on my CD player at home, or in the car, or to disseminate amongst my friends.  I don't see why I have to pay the music industry for the right to listen to music I've created myself for purely non-commercial use.

I sometimes write to a blank CD to transport my personal data files: open office documents, web designs, photos I've taken, etc. as not all clients for my web design, copy writing and photography business as, for security reasons, some clients prefer that to having writable media like a USB stick attached to their system.  Exactly why should I have to pay the music industry for the benefit of transporting my private data from one place to another?

It seems this entire argument is built on the premise that blank CDs are used for the sole purpose of stealing music.  The argument that it is unfair to recording artists that some will be used for that purpose and they will lose their associated rights payments is somewhat weaker than the argument that it is unfair to bill someone for the rights to play music from a rcording made on a blank CD when that CD does not even contain music, will never contain music, or contains only music that you fully own or already own the rights to play:  who will compensate me?

Frank Harvey's picture


And this comes just after Apple launch Apple Music? Hmmm...

rainsoothe's picture


Their arguments are rather pathetic, for obvious reasons. And that Mister Green is anything BUT "Justice".

Fredrik Alvelöv's picture


In Sweden we have the organization Copyswede that legally steal about 10 Euro for each TB of our hard drives and a fee for every empty DVD or CD. 

MickyBlue's picture

does this ruling now make

does this ruling now make streaming illegal also? we havnt purchased the original artists format and the likes of apple/spotify etc dont produce the artists music so therefore they must of made a copy? just a thought!

mooseburner's picture

Does this apply outside England?

I only ask as Is in section 3 of the introduction of the ruling....

"The basis upon which I arrived at this conclusion was English common law, not the law of the EU. "

English common law doesn't apply outside of England! 

Well, so much for the "old-skool" mix tape that even their movies (e.g. Guardians of the galaxy, High Fidelity, etc.) promote...  

Maybe they should use a message at the start of films to warn people - maybe something like:

"Even though the characters in the movie have made a mix tape and it's an important plot point which is based on behaviour that was extremely common for people to do (even possibly considered 'normal' behaviour, even by the police); and we don't mind taking advantage of it by using this fim to hook into the warm and fuzzy feelings people have towards mix tapes to create a marketing opportunity and make us even more money from this flick through album sales;  Don't try this at home kids, or the police will be around to issue you with criminal charges and a disprortionate fine."

Incedentally, if such a warning does get used, I claim copyright for the entire concept of 'mix tape warnings' (i.e. a warning against using something you've already purchased and used to create an ambience by mixing tracks/sounds on a single (or multiple) different media) and hereby claim royalties at 15%, paid in cash, of the entire global movie takings, for movies exhibited in any format, past present or future.

(Hey, I can dream!) Wink

teabag's picture

Ripping CDs and DVDs is illegal again

And just how much of that £58 million will multimillioners McCartney, Jagger, Elton, Sting etc get? 

Infiniteloop's picture

I do not own a CD player. I

I do not own a CD player. I buy CDs specifically to Rip to my Mac Mini to use it as a Media Player. I have never illegally downloaded anything and have bought ALL the music that I own, which runs to thousands of CDs and all these are stored in boxes in my loft.

So now I am a Criminal?

This is totally rediculous.

paulnw95's picture

Ripping CDs etc

If we cannot copy a cd or dvd etc, then why is the music industry asking for them to be given proceeds of tax on blank cds, hard drives, memory sticks etc ? We can't copy on to them so why should the music industry receive further money for a product that they have not sold us. Or should we charge the music industry every time we give them the privilege of playing one of our bought CDs on our cd players and giving their artists air time in our homes. Maybe the music industry would like to comment on those 2 issues but I doubt they will

adey2010's picture

if it was made legal a year ago.....

So the same companies that have made a fortune out of blank discs and cd/dvd/blu ray writers want it to be illegal to rip cds etc? How can they control or enforce it?

if it was made legal a year ago and has just been made illegal again, how is it enforceable if somebody ripped it when it was legal to do so? Its all about greed imho.

Jota180's picture

I consider that I've paid

I consider that I've paid Rush for my copy of Rush 2112 back in the late '70s.  Why should I have to pay for the content over and over again each time the music industry changes it's media platform format?

Frankly there should be a basic charge for the media then that's it. 

Geddy76's picture

The record industry is dying.

The (archaic) major labels know they are slowly dying, thanks to the internet.  They need to curb as many profit leaks as they can, to draw out their demise.  Or, invent new ways to milk our wallets, which they don't seem to want to do.

It's a strange law, as there are clearly many hardware products that openly advertise their primary feature as media storage devices.  Are we expected not to actually use these features, once purchased?

Biggarthomas's picture

Copying to Server

So, now I cannot copy my CDs to a hard drive so that I can play them over my Hi-Fi? Good luck with that one. This was a far too broad ruling and it will only result in consumers defying the record companies. 

i have repurchased enough of my collection, in Hi-Res format, there is no way that I'm going to replace the tens of thousands of tracks that I have on CD and that I seldom play, in order to have copies on my hard drive.

PeterLanky's picture

The decision

How strange that some bloke in a wig can make a decision to overturn a law made by the legitimate government of the UK, which technically (though I suspect not in practice) affects a large proportion of the UK, including a large proportion of real musicians in a negative way, for the benefit of a dodgy music industry and some very wealthly but averagely talented millionnaire 'musicians'. Vested interests?

Sy101's picture

Amazon Auto Rip Service

I wonder then if Amazon's autorip service (any CD you buy you'll find downloadable MP3's automatically available to you on your account) will be allowed to continue?