iTunes is Now Illegal Under U.K. Copyright Law

Featured Image by Connor Tarter via Flickr

You have done this. You’ve gone to a store or a show, legally purchased a CD off the rack, and took it home to jam to it. NBD. As we’re assuming you’re an average consumer, you would also copy it into your digital music library, whether that would be iTunes, Amazon…etc., so that you can stream it on your music device. No big deal, right? Well, if you’re in the U.K., you would be breaking copyright law (again), and you could actually go to jail for it. No, this is not a drill. Yes, this is true.

According to TorrentFreak, the High Court in the United Kingdom has overturned private copying exceptions from a previous ruling introduced last year permitting this presumably innocuous action. According to the Intellectual Property Office, ripping a CD in iTunes is no longer permitted, and neither is backing it up on your computer if it contains copyrighted content. “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,” a spokesperson told TorrentFreak.

Well, for starters, I can guarantee you, that is reading this, would be considered a felon. I, myself, would be a hardened, ruthless criminal, buying copious amounts of CD’s and vinyl from record stores (yes, I actually do go to record stores) and, foolishly believing that I can just listen to it on my phone and/or iPod, I copy the music and listen to it. The abject horror. So, that means, sweet reader, that we could technically be put in jail for our crimes. Today. The evidence against us (or, just me) would be overwhelming.  So, gone would be that little notification saying, “Import your favorite CDs with just one click!” and probably that awesome Amazon AutoRip-thing…and any vinyl-to-MP3 device you own would be considered contraband and illegal. So, we will either continue on our path of copyright dissolution or have it be stopped altogether by The Man.

Hypothetically speaking, the only ways to remedy this are to 1) go without music; 2) resort back to the early 2000’s with your DiscMan and CD binder (not kidding); 3) buy all of your CD’s in digital form online (again!); 5) Email or snail-mail your favorite artists/record company/etc., alive and dead, for permission so that you can copy their music into your digital library…and wait for a ‘yes.’ Do you think Hozier or Beethoven would be down with that?

So, this ruling is going to radically change the way music is bought and listened to, at least in the U.K.  Revenue will go up in the tech-retail sector and, while it is said the U.K. Goverment does not expect to be on a witch hunt for your CD-ripped files, it is still on the books that you could be imprisoned for having them. Empty threat? I think not.

What do YOU think of this ruling and do you think it could come to the USA? Tell us in the comments below!



  1. Wakana Narisako

    August 7, 2015 at 2:14 pm

    This is soooo dumbbbbb. We back up the music because we love the music and don’t want to pay for another copy if we lose it.

  2. Taylor Concannon

    August 7, 2015 at 3:49 pm

    That’s absurd. If we already bought a physical copy of an album, we’re not going to want to buy it again for our computer/iPod. I don’t see this law being widely followed, but I do wonder if iTunes, Amazon, etc. are going to change their UK software to keep non-purchased tracks out of personal digital libraries to help enforce it. I also wonder if this is going to push labels into including digital download cards with CDs as they do with some vinyl’s to keep sales from falling.

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