Power to the People…No Never…High Court sides with big business over whether people are allowed to copy their own CDs

Posted: 21 June, 2015 in Law Court Censorship
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Old Bailey Several groups representing the interests of big media companies have won a judicial review challenging the UK Government’s decision to allow copying for personal use. According to the High Court, there’s insufficient evidence to prove that the legislation doesn’t hurt musicians and the industry.last year the UK Government legalized copying for private use , a practice which many citizens already believed to be legal.

The change was in the best interest of consumers, the Government reasoned, but several music industry organizations challenged the decision as they felt it harmed their own interests.

In November the Musicians’ Union (MU), the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors (BASCA) and UK Music applied for a judicial review of the new legislation. They disagreed with the Government’s conclusion that the change would cause no financial harm to the music industry.

Instead of keeping copies free, they suggested that a tax should be applied to blank media including blank CDs, hard drives, memory sticks and other blank media. This money would then be shared among rightsholders, a mechanism already operating in other European countries.

The High Court largely agreed with the music industry groups. The Government’s conclusion that copyright holders will not suffer any significant harm was based on inadequate evidence, Mr Justice Green claimed. The judge wrote:

In conclusion, the decision to introduce section 28B [private copying] in the absence of a compensation mechanism is unlawful.

The UK music groups are happy with the outcome and are eager to discuss possible changes with lawmakers.

The High Court scheduled a new hearing next month to decide what action should be taken in response to the judgment, including whether the private copying exceptions should be scrapped from law.

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