Erm...iTunes is Now Illegal in the UK

By Gerald Lynch on at

Well, technically illegal, thanks to the High Court. Under pressure from members of the music industry, it has overturned existing copyright legislation, making the transferring of copyrighted works from one medium to another illegal. That includes ripping CDs to MP3 files, which would make using Apple's iTunes software against the law in the UK, thanks to its CD ripping capabilities.

Though the government had legalised such file copying last year (so long as it was for private use) TorrentFreak has found that the private copying exception has now proved short lived, with the Intellectual Property Office confirming that using software like iTunes to carry out the task would now make you a criminal.

"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 the TorrentFreak.

Apple, explicitly promoting the feature when you boot up iTunes and insert a disc, could now be seen as actively facilitating copyright infringement, while even those storing back-ups of their legally-bought MP3s to a cloud storage service would also be breaking the law, as it "involves an act of copying".

"As this is a complex area of law, the Government is carefully considering the implications of the ruling and the available options, before deciding any future course of action," a government spokesperson said.

"The Government is not aware of any cases of copyright holders having prosecuted individuals for format shifting music solely for their own personal use."

So, don't get too stressed about facing porridge for your immaculately crafted iPod library. But it does go to highlight that, 16 years after the rise of Napster, the powers that be still haven't got a clue what to do when it comes to wading through the murky waters of digital copyright. [TorrentFreak]