A British high court has just killed a whole industry, at least if people pay attention to the letter of the law.
The court overturned recent legislation that made it legal to transfer copyrighted material from one source to another if it is to be used for private purposes. Record companies and other rights holders opposed the law, saying that they would lose income.
So, in theory, you can buy a copy of an album on CD but, if you want it on your phone, you have to buy another copy. You also can no longer legally copy music from your iPod to your phone or, presumably, even backup the music on your phone to a computer, a precaution that every user should do to protect their investment.
A spokesperson from the U.K. Intellectual Property Office told the site TorrentFreak “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.”
The spokesperson added “…it includes creating back-ups without permission from the copyright holder as this necessarily involves an act of copying.” That means any automatic backups to cloud services is also now illegal.
In essence, Apple is now promoting illegal activities when they tell you that you can rip your CDs to their service for moving music to your iPhone and they are also telling people to break the law when they say they can burn music bought on iTunes to a CD.
Want to use a service like Carbonite or Barracuda to backup your computer? You better not include the folders with your music or you will be running afoul of the law.
Your iPhone die with all your music? Hey, just buy it all again!
As is pointed out in the TorrentFreak article, the government is still considering how to move forward to return what they consider basic rights to music buyers and also state that, while it may be illegal, rights holders don’t usually come after individuals for copying their music to another device they own.
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