BPI to tolerate private copying

July 2006

Record labels

Under UK copyright law it is an infringement to make ANY copy of a protected work – even if you are copying your own CDs for your own use – except in strictly defined exceptions (such as fair dealing). The only other exception to this is copying or ‘time shifting’ broadcasts to watch later. However the practice of copying for personal is so widespread (and accepted as ‘legal’ by many music industry professionals) and the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) has now said it won’t pursue consumers who copy music from their CDs to listen to on portable music players. Giving evidence to the House of Commons Select Committee for Culture, Media & Sport inquiry into New Media and the Creative Industries yesterday, the trade body said it didn’t consider copying to different devices a problem as long as it was solely for personal use. The Chairman of the BPI,
Peter Jamieson said that “traditionally the recording industry has turned a blind eye to private copying and has used the strength of the law to pursue commercial pirates” and added that “We [the BPI] believe that we now need to make a clear and public distinction between copying for your own use and copying for dissemination to third parties. We want to make it unequivocally clear to the consumer that if they copy their CDs for their own private use in order to move the music from format to format, we will not pursue them.” Mr Jamieson also called on Apple to open up its software in order to be compatible with other players. “We would advocate that Apple opts for interoperability,” he said.

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