The British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors (BASCA) along with the Musician’s Union and trade association UK Music 2009 Ltd have obtained a High Court ruling making it illegal once again for consumers to copy CDs, DVD’s or e-books for personal use.
The ruling overturns a UK government regulation, now deemed to be unlawful by the High Court, legally allowing such copying. This came into force ten months ago on October 1st. The unions and trade association (the Claimants) wanted the High Court to rule that anyone copying for personal use in this time should still be deemed to have illegally infringed copyright, even though they had done so lawfully. That is they wanted the July 2015 ruling to apply retrospectively from October 2014, presumably so that they could then take legal action against lots of law-abiding consumers.
Fortunately this nonsensically unfair demand was sensibly rejected as an “unattractive proposition” by Mr Justice Green who pointed out that substantial numbers of people had probably, and perfectly reasonably, commenced copying for personal use once it was legal to do so. He also pointed out that many in the music industry, including members of the unions and association in his court, accepted that copying for personal use was a “practical and reasonable reality” which actually benefitted the market by expanding it, and that, perhaps in consequence there was “no practice” in the industry of seeking redress against infringers through the courts.
The case for the Claimants was brought by legal firm Olswang.