What’s so wrong about putting music you’ve already paid for onto your iPod? It’s a law that’s totally out of touch and it’s about time digital music fans weren’t branded as criminals.
I’m about to confess to a crime. I rip CDs on my computer then transfer them onto my iPod – in full knowledge that I’m actively breaking the law.
Once done, I hide away the evidence (I pop the CD in the loft) and brazenly walk the streets of London playing my illegally ripped music in full view. Apparently, I have no shame and am guilty as charged.
What’s strange is that I haven’t yet been arrested.
In fact, there are millions of others just like me. Criminals up and down the land, all of us routinely breaking the law by putting legally purchased music onto another device to enjoy on the move.
Admit it – you’ve ripped a CD or two
There’s a good chance every one of you has stained your past by ripping a CD onto your computer – a guilty secret that could see you marched to court and fined.
It’s called format shifting – and some record companies have in all seriousness likened it to stealing. Only, what we’re really talking about is theft where you’ve done a runner with your own shopping bags. In effect, you’re stealing the stuff you already own.
But, say the record companies, it’s illegal. Ok, but it’s quite simply out of step with today’s music consumption.
Change your tune – it’s not file-sharing
Oh, and a note to knee-jerk legal folk: I’m not talking about fattening up your iPod with un-purchased songs from file-sharing sites – that’s a definite no-no and worthy of the full weight of the law.
Instead, I’m talking about actually being able to listen to the music we’ve paid for on the devices we choose to, without joining the ranks of blaggers, muggers and hijackers.
No one has been taken to court for ripping their own, purchased music to their own iPod for their own use. That, though, doesn’t stop it being a criminal activity, and it’s clearly time for the law and the music industry to acknowledge that we should be able to format shift the music we’ve paid for.
It’s not often that I accuse my readers of being criminals, but until the law is changed, that’s exactly what we are. So, until then, I guess it’s a fair cop (or at least, an album by The Police).