Copyright law brought up to date at long last

25 September 2014

A host of changes are being made this October to modernise UK copyright law, specifically with regards to digital media such as CDs and digital artwork as well as new exemptions for broader quotation and parody.

This long awaited update to intellectual property law means individuals will finally be allowed to make copies of media they have bought, such as MP3s, and eBooks, for their own use.

Nikki Powell, Head of Litigation at leading European intellectual property firm, Haseltine Lake, comments: “Not many people appreciate it has always been illegal to copy a CD you own onto your mobile phone, for your own use."

“Anyone who lived through the 1980s, and remembers high speed dubbing and the blank tape, will appreciate that the technology to make a further copy of a cassette, and of its successor formats, has been around for many years. You could be forgiven for assuming, based on the availability of such technology, that the law would have permitted such acts."

“In practice, copyright infringement by a “home copier” is virtually impossible to detect, and successful litigation brought against one home copier would likely have next to no deterrent effect on another. At Haseltine Lake we never see cases and it is incredibly rare that proceedings are brought against home copiers.”

From October 1st, making a personal copy of a copyright work will at last become a lawful activity.

Nikki believes these changes are long overdue, she adds: “This change serves as a reminder that intellectual property law is often not as innovative as the innovations it is there to protect. It is really encouraging that Parliament is gradually focusing more attention on the importance of IP.”

The new regulations however will not permit copies of digital material to be sold or given away. It will still be against the law for someone to copy their CD onto a friend’s MP3 player. 

Click here to download the press release.

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