Apple fans in the United Kingdom will soon have to consider using alternative services after a court ruling in the country has made iTunes basically illegal. The United Kingdom’s High Court ruled today that is it illegal for someone to rip a CD and back it up with a digital copy without the copyright holder’s consent. Given that iTunes incorporates a CD ripping feature, this ruling makes the use of the popular media player illegal. Additionally, the ruling decreed that is it illegal to back up one’s music collection to an external hard-drive or a cloud service without the owner’s consent, making media playback on any device essentially unlawful.
The UK Intellectual Property Office told torrenting-centric publication TorrentFreak in an interview that “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 UK IPO did delineate by stating the British government at-large was “carefully considering the implications of the ruling and the available options before deciding any future course of action” and that they were “not aware of any cases of copyright holders having prosecuted individuals for format shifting music solely for their own personal use.”
The ruling might be a way to combat piracy, though it’s difficult to discern at all what the UK IPO’s reasoning is. However, it effectively makes pirating the more favorable option. As a reddit user pointed out, putting music you own on a separate device is illegal whether you paid for it or not, so why pay for it?
Regardless of the ruling’s execution, it still seems absurd that the British IPO believes such a mundane activity as creating digital backups of physical music to be illegal. Feeling lucky yet, America?