Legal Updates

Intellectual Property – Copyright – Copying – Personal Use – Copyright Infringement


Last month Business Secretary, Vince Cable, unveiled proposals for reform of copyright law. In particular, he proposed that people be allowed to copy material they have purchased to various devices, e.g. tablets, computers and phones for their own personal use.


Strictly speaking, current law classes all copying as infringement, even if this is for personal use and not for any commercial gain. This means that if you copied (ripped) a music CD to your laptop or iPod, you would automatically be committing copyright infringement. Obviously, many see this as absurd given that in most cases (i) the music CD has been lawfully purchased and (ii) laptops/iPods are sold with the view that music from CDs can be copied onto them. If this were not the case, these devices would not be designed with such functionalities, i.e. the ability for a laptop to “rip” a CD.


In relation to the European Commission’s move towards imposing an EU-wide iPod tax, Mr Cable made his intention clear in that he would endeavour to block this. The tax would mean that consumers would have to bear a £15 tax on iPods (as well as other gadgets). We would keep you updated as this develops.


For any queries on music copyright or other IP law issues, you may contact us by email Visit


© RT COOPERS, 2013. This Briefing Note does not provide a comprehensive or complete statement of the law relating to the issues discussed nor does it constitute legal advice. It is intended only to highlight general issues. Specialist legal advice should always be sought in relation to particular circumstances.


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