legalI hope our UK-based readers acted quickly because your short-lived rule allowing you to legally rip personal CDs for backup reasons just evaporated.

A bit of history for those of you in the US, who are still able to legally back up your CD purchases. Until last October, it was completely illegal in the UK. Then the government (reasonably) passed a regulation allowing the practice, saying it caused no damage to rights holders as long as the copies were for personal use and not shared. That sounded sensible since everyone was doing it anyway, and as long as copies weren’t shared it would be darned difficult to prove anyone was violating the law.

Did the music industry nod and go along with it? Of course not. According to this Gizmodo article, the music industry claimed (hope you’re sitting down for this):

that it would cost the record industry millions, and demanding that a “compensation scheme” be introduced. Basically, they’re asking to get paid extra when you purchase a physical CD because of the terrible hardship they suffer when you back said CD up to your music library.

Seriously? In what universe is there a hardship to me ripping my (legally purchased) music CDs and playing them in MP3 format on my iPad or phone? (Okay, maybe in those silly instances where the CD costs less than the digital music download, but how many CDs does anyone buy today anyway?) Does anyone know if Amazon Auto Rip is available in the UK because that’s pretty much the same thing.

I thoroughly enjoyed the comment on the article where someone said what the industry really wants is to be paid when you get a song stuck in your head and again when you thoughtlessly hum said song aloud, because that’s totally a “public performance.”

Anyway, to make a long story short, last month, the a UK high court judge agreed that backing up music CDs was potentially harmful and on Friday it officially became illegal again.

And, much like the stripping of DRM and backing up of ebook purchases, we once again have a totally unenforceable law on the books. You know, this makes me wonder when we’re going to see another change to the various subscription services. Sure, you can stream as many books, movies, shows or songs as you like for one fixed price, but you can only consume each of them once. Try to consume some entertainment a second time, and somehow they’ll make you pay for it again. I swear some media executive is working on that right now.


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