Yup, you read that right. The powers that be in the UK’s High Court have just introduced a new ruling that, in one swoop, has just made more or less every single computer user in the country a digital outlaw.
The new law is related to copyrighted content, specifically recreating it without the permission of the copyright holder.
What this means is that all of the following things are now illegal:
Creating backups on your computer.
Whether it’s music or other things, there’s a pretty sure-fire bet that your computer will contain some copyrighted contented, making a copy, even for ‘personal use’ is breaking the law.
Ripping CDs to your iTunes (or any other program)
Which basically means that software like iTunes is also illegal as they have built in functionality to facilitate this. At least you can feel safe in the knowledge that you’re taking Apple down with you.
Changing the format of any file that you don’t own the copyright for
Need to change that mp3 into a wma.? Well tough luck buddy. That’s bona fide law breaking right there.
TorrentFreak spoke to the UK Intellectual Property Office to get the gritty details of exactly what you’re allowed to do.
Here’s what they had to say:
“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.
“It includes creating back-ups without permission from the copyright holder as this necessarily involves an act of copying.”
However, they also add:
“The Government is not aware of any cases of copyright holders having prosecuted individuals for format shifting music solely for their own personal use.”
Which basically means the whole rigmarole of changing that law and all that was probably incredibly pointless. Go Team Government.