Copying music for personal use is now legal in the UK – 13 years after Apple’s iTunes introduced its CD-ripping function.
Until now it’s been regarded as piracy to make copies of tracks for backup purposes, or for use on another listening platform. The Intellectual Property Act, which came into force yesterday, has changed that.
Users are now able to keep multiple copies of material they’ve purchased – but they’re not allowed to keep those copies if they sell on the original item they bought. It remains illegal to record streamed music or copy a rented title. Sellers remain able to secure material with DRM software.
Minister for Intellectual Property Baroness Neville-Rolfe tells the BBC: “These changes are to bring our laws into the 21st century. They mean that the UK is now responsive to the modern business environment, and more flexible for consumers.”
But analyst Alice Enders notes that content creators aren’t being offered compensation for legal copying – while in other parts of Europe a levy is charged on blank media and media players, as a form of royalty.
Enders says: “Content owners will become more concerned. They don’t want their works to be copied without compensation – they want to sell it, rent it to you or get you on a subscription. No money comes from a copy.”