UK High Court outlaws CD and DVD ripping again

Party like it's 2014

CD ripping

Remember last October, when it became legal to copy your own CDs and DVDs for personal and private use? It was a surprising victory for common sense in our modern digital age.

Well, it didn't last long: the High Court has now overturned that ruling after a challenge from musicians union Basca and industry outfit UK Music. Put your ripping software on standby again.

So having legally paid cold hard cash for an album or movie, you're no longer allowed to keep a private backup on your computer or indeed burn a copy in case the original gets unusable.

Copyrights and wrongs

You probably won't get in trouble unless you're sharing your copies with other people, but technically you are breaking the law and wouldn't have an argument if you got caught.

"The High Court agreed with us that government acted unlawfully when it introduced an exception to copyright for private copying without fair compensation," Jo Dipple, CEO of UK Music, told the BBC.

In the US, there's no specific copyright exception for backups, but it's largely accepted that the practice is allowed if you're not sharing your ripped material with anyone and you paid for it first.

Article continues below