UK High Court outlaws CD and DVD ripping again

CD ripping
Hit pause on your CD ripping software.

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.

David Nield
Freelance Contributor

Dave is a freelance tech journalist who has been writing about gadgets, apps and the web for more than two decades. Based out of Stockport, England, on TechRadar you'll find him covering news, features and reviews, particularly for phones, tablets and wearables. Working to ensure our breaking news coverage is the best in the business over weekends, David also has bylines at Gizmodo, T3, PopSci and a few other places besides, as well as being many years editing the likes of PC Explorer and The Hardware Handbook.