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Is iPod tax on cards as government delays right to copy your music?

The  Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments (JCSI) approved three of five Statutory Instruments (SI) relating to copyright law but is still considering a further two: exceptions for parody and for personal copying (also known as format shifting).

Open Rights Group is concerned that groups representing rightsholders are seeking compensation for consumers potentially copying music they have bought onto different devices, for example from a CD to their iPod. Last year, UK Music, which represents the live music sector, said that “the exception cannot lawfully be made without fair compensation”. (1)

Jim Killock, Executive Director of Open Rights Group, said,

“It has taken nine years and two separate reviews to get our copyright close to being fit-for purpose in the digital age. It is extremely worrying that at this stage, exceptions for personal copying and parody are being delayed. We believe that the government is under intense pressure to introduce an 'iPod tax' that would push up prices for consumers.”

When similar legislation was introduced in Spain, it resulted in levies of being applied to a range of devices that could copy content. The levies ranged from € 3.40 for CD and DVD recorders to €227 for some photocopiers. The Spanish law was killed in 2011 after 3 million people signed a petition opposing it. 

In a letter to Open Rights Group dated Apr 2 2014, Viscount Younger of Leckie said:

“The parallel provision to allow some personal copying recognises that copyright should not unduly restrict private actions where they cause no harm to the Rerights holder, especially when those actions are widely considered acceptable, and enhance the enjoyment and demand for creative works.”

Open Rights Group is urging the government to stand by these words and approve the Statutory Instrument for the exception as it stands.

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