On 1 October 2014, the Copyright and Rights in Performances (Personal Copies for Private Use) Regulations 2014 came into force, implementing Article 5(2)(b) of the Copyright Directive (2001/29/EC) to provide, for the first time in UK law, an exception to copyright infringement for the purposes of private copying.
This new exception allows individuals in the UK to make a personal copy for their private use of copyrighted material they have lawfully and permanently acquired, provided it is not for commercial purposes. This specifically allows for format-shifting, for example downloading and converting audio files on a CD into MP3 format, something that has been widely carried out by consumers in the UK for some time but was, up until 1 October 2014, technically unlawful. The new law is thought to bring UK copyright law in line with modern practices and was welcomed by most.
However, all did not welcome the changes because in November 2014, the Musicians’ Union (MU), The British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors (BASCA) and UK Music launched a judicial review application against this new legislation.
The aim of this application is that the judicial review process will ultimately lead to an amendment to the legislation, to provide for fair compensation for rights holders, which they say the law now does not provide.
In January 2015, the High Court Judge Mr Justice Ouseley granted the permission to pursue a judicial review deeming that the Claimants (the Music Industry bodies) have an arguable case against the Government.
Mr Justice Ouseley also agreed with the Claimants that the substantive hearing of the Judicial Review should be expedited and heard before the end of May 2015. An update will be provided here following that hearing.