/ Technology

Update: Ripping your CD is now finally legal

CD with coloured lights

Today is an important day for you and me… though you may not realise it! It’s no longer illegal to copy a music CD you’ve bought onto your MP3 player. And your comments helped us make this change happen.

The reason I say ‘you may not realise it’ is because many had already been format shifting for years. And most of us didn’t realise it was actually against the law. Now, at last, the law has caught up with common sense and it’s something we’ve wanted to see for many years.

So just to set the record straight… you are now allowed to make personal copies of media you’ve bought to any device you own, or even your private cloud. However, you can’t give others access to the copies you’ve made.

Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose

While it’s always nice to return to an old Conversation to say ‘job done’, of course that assumes the job is actually done. As was clear from the comments to our last Convo on this topic, allowing consumers to make a private copy of something they already own was hardly a major reform; it was common sense. Many of you thought there was still a long way to go before copyright law was really brought into the 21st century.

Indeed, it will be a while before all the recommendations made by the Hargreaves Review are fully implemented. And it’s clear it will be a struggle. A number of MPs and Peers questioned the wisdom of the Government’s proposed legislation to allow private copying for personal use at every stage of its parliamentary passage (thus delaying its implementation) as they were worried about the impact on the digital industries. They thought it might encourage unlawful digital file sharing and questioned whether the provisions included ‘fair recompense’ for copyright owners. Clearly, copyright reform is a very complex area of law.

Steering away from copyright theft

So, just remember, while you can now make a personal copy of that old vinyl album you want to listen to on your iPod without fearing a knock at your door, you still can’t give a copy to all your friends, not even one of them. That’s still copyright theft. Though to be fair, as long ago as 2006, the BPI, which represents the music industry, said it wanted to make it ‘unequivocally clear to the consumer that, if they copy their CDs for their private use in order to move music from format to format, we will not pursue them’.

Although covered by the same copyright rules, how this will work for other types of media, like ebooks and DVDs, is currently unknown.

What do you think about the new copyright laws? Are you happy to see the changes being made, or do you think they’re much ado about nothing?


Most of us have ripped our new CD onto iTunes to move onto our iPod & iPhones. We have been doing it for years. Yes it’s nice how it’s now legal, but has anything really changed? for us, in our lifes? I don’t think so.

“as they were worried about the impact on the digital industries” If I were them I’d be more worried about the industries using region encoding to block free trade. The practice of releasing a dvd then six months later the extended version, then 6 months later the boxset version. All these practices employed by the film industry are killing it in my eyes. as it forces people who don’t want to wait to do all the things they’re actually worried about.

The solution is in the hands of the industries themselves, they’re the ones choosing to be greedy.

Although maybe that’s for another convo. Sorry.

Since we haven’t got a Convo that’s suitable, I’m happy for you to talk about the film and music industry in general.

“The practice of releasing a dvd then six months later the extended version, then 6 months later the boxset version.”

I agree 100% William. There is a few DVD’s i would like to buy, DVDs of TV shows like Mrs Browns Boys, The Village, Miranda etc. But the problem is there like £15 each per series, then after the shows have been axed they then release “The compete collection” for £9.99, it’s annoying.

Due to think I find myself being bad and watching stuff via YouTube etc, then only buying the show when it’s been axed. I’ve wanted a show called “Outnumbered” for years and put it off, then just this month got the complete box set as the BBC have said they are not doing anymore series, so it was safe to buy it.

Gerard Phelan says:
4 October 2014

In July 1979 and 1980 I paid the sum of £1.73 (which was worth something then) to the “Mechanical Copyright Protection Society” for a licence to copy my Vinyl LP’s to cassette – or whatever else I might have had available in those days long ago. The MCPS stopped offering the licence in 1981, so if I had um.. continued copying my LP’s for my own use, doing so would have ceased to deliver revenue to the MCPS. As many commentators have said – the copying free for all that later occurred is the direct result of the music (and later film) industry failing to bring their business processes in line with the world around them.

Sophie Gilbert says:
5 October 2014

I always thought that when you purchased a record (showing my age), you purchased the art, not the medium through which you could enjoy it. It never occurred to me that if I transferred the art from vinyl to tape (showing my age again) so that I could listen to it on my Walkman (ignore me, I’m being nostalgic), I was logically doing anything illegal.

Regarding the next step, copying the art so that others don’t have to purchase it, there is no excuse, but you can understand it in Rip Off Britain in particular. I agree with William and Lee Beaumont, the “industries” would go a long way towards helping themselves if they were less greedy in the first place.

DerekP says:
15 October 2014

Great to hear that this is finally legal.

james keeley says:
3 October 2015

im thinking about starting a business copying vinyl and tape to cd. I make the customer send me their own vinyl/tape by post. I then burn it to cd and return it by post. Is this illegal as I don’t own the vinyl/tape to start with?

James, I don’t know the answer to your question but I am posting this in order to get your item into the ‘Recent activity’ list in case someone else can help you.

This comment was removed at the request of the user

James: technically, it’s illegal for anyone to copy a commercial CD or DVD but in practice unless you were involved in mass copying of single discs and selling them I doubt there would be any problems.

The only businesses that currently offer vinyl-digital transfer services, however, do seem to offer those services only for home movies or recordings and not commercial ones. If you’re intending to set up as a business, I suspect it might be worth a few quid to consult a solicitor whose experience includes digital rights management.

I was looking for some music on ebay uk and found this add . My question is this legal ..

1 tb hard drive fully loaded with inexcess of 100,000 music and video tracks and jukebox software and operating system.

Based in United Kingdom, fubyboy has been an eBay member since 30 Apr, 2003