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Private copy exemption set to go live in October

By | Published on Friday 1 August 2014


The private copy exemption is now scheduled to go live in UK copyright law in October after the statutory instrument making the change passed through the Lords this week.

A number of new exemptions are being added to the UK copyright system, scenarios where people can make use of copyright material without licence. The changes stem from the 2011 Hargreaves Review of British copyright law.

The copyright industries – including the music biz – have various reservations about the new exemptions. On the private copy right – which means that consumers can now legally rip tracks off CDs onto their PCs and smartphones – the record labels and music publishers don’t disagree with the exemption in principle, but reckon that rights owners should receive some compensation for the private copies being made as they do elsewhere in Europe. This is normally achieved by adding a levy to devises used to make private copies.

The statutory instrument making the private copy right (without levy) law was delayed earlier this year, but has now been approved. Though the copyright industries may as yet challenge it through the courts, either arguing that such changes to copyright law should not be possible via a simple statutory instrument, or by arguing that the new exemption being passed with no compensation puts the UK copyright system out of kilter with the rest of Europe, and therefore contravenes European law.

Though the tech sector is trying to address that last point too, albeit from the other direction. According to The Register, a trade group representing thousands of tech firms, including big guys Microsoft, Apple and Samsung, is pushing for the levy system to be abolished elsewhere in Europe, and will now likely use the new levy-free private copy right in the UK to bolster their case.

So that’s all fun, isn’t it?