Music fans, take note – the next time you copy music from a CD to your iPod you might be breaching UK law after several music organisations won a judicial review to make copying music for personal use illegal.
Last year the UK Government legalized copying for private use, which unbeknown to many was a UK offence until last October.
The legislation of transferring music from purchased CDs to MP3s, which took about five years to implement, was condemned by music organisations after they disagreed with the Government’s conclusion that the change would not cause financial harm to the music industry.
The Musician’s Union, the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors and UK Music all applied for a judicial review of the new legislation in November, despite the Government reasoning that legalising transfers would be “in the best interest” of consumers.
Although the music groups were not against private copying they suggested that there should be a tax on blank media, such as blank CDs, hard drives and memory sticks. They suggested this money could then be shared between rights holders which is strategy already employed in other European countries.
In the review which took place yesterday, the High Court largely agreed with music industry groups and decided that there was insufficient evidence to prove that legalisation would not hurt the industry. Mr Justice Green ruled that “the decision to introduce section 28B [private copying] in the absence of a compensation mechanism is unlawful.”
Despite this, the Judge rejected the music groups’ claim that the Government had unlawfully predetermined the outcome of the private copying consultation.
The UK music groups have been pleased with the otcome of the judicial review, which means that the Government may now have to amend their previous legalisation.
Jo Dipple, UK Music CEO, told Torrent Freak: “The High Court agreed with us that Government acted unlawfully. It is vitally important that fairness for songwriters, composers and performers is written into the law.”
“Changes to copyright law that affect such a vital part of the creative economy, which supports one in twelve jobs, must only be introduced if there is a robust evidential basis for doing so.”
A new hearing is scheduled for next month to decide what action should be taken in response to the High Court’s judgement and will determine whether private copying exceptions should be abolished from UK law.