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JGM, Solicitor
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 16350
Experience:  30 years experience in property law.
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In the UK: Is it true that private copying is illegal in

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In the UK:Is it true that private copying is illegal in most cases, as in it was legalised for a bit in 2014, but then made illegal again in 2015. These articles seem to suggest so:,or%20downloaded%20from%20legal%20sources that things like these would be illegal:-Tracing pictures in picture books for fun
- Painting well-known cartoon characters
- filming yourself reading poetry which is in copyright
- sending people photos of a page with of a book you're reading
- reading out excerpts of books over the phone or zoom
- most internet memes
- streaming YouTube videos over zoom (music videos which are in copyright and though free for everyone to watch, might lose out on as revenue because of your stream)
- sending photos of a cookbook to friends
- recording yourself playing a copyrighted arrangement of music and sending it to a friend
- recording yourself playing a cover of a song and sending it to a friendI understand there are exceptions like education and so on. Like education for a non-commercial purpose... When photocopying the cookbook for example, you could argue that the person is educating themselves on a recipe and then cooking for fun(non-commercial purpose) though it seems a bit of a stretch.Anyway, I'm basically aware of the exceptions: parody, review and comment, transformative work etc. But the things I've listed fall outside of these exceptions and would be illegal from what I can tell-- or am I still oversimplifying this?Thanks

Thanks for your question. I am a solicitor in the UK with 35 years of experience in private practice with a specialism in copyright law and I hope that I can help you with your question today. Let me just read your question and I will either give you an initial answer or ask you for further information. I aim to respond to you as quickly as I can but sometimes I may want to take a little time to consider your question so as to give you the best answer I can.

Customer: replied 13 days ago.
Ok, thank you!

You are quite right. The private use exception introduced as section 28B of the 1988 Act was repealed following the court’s decision brought by the Queen as representing the UK music authorities. Here is the comment on Westlaw: “Due to the quashing of SI 2014/2361 by the decision in R (on the application of British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors) v Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills on July 17, 2015 we have removed s.28B as inserted by Copyright and Rights in Performances (Personal Copies for Private Use) Regulations 2014/2361 reg.3(1) (July 17, 2015)”. Copying for personal use in the manners described by you is not permitted except by way of education, parody, reporting and review etc. And your recipe example is stretching things. However the issue of enforcement is relevant. If I make a back up copy of a CD to use in my car because I don’t want to take the original out of my house, who is going to stop me? And as a I understand it there is no easy mechanism to allow that kind of copying without actually applying for and paying for a licence. No one is going to do that so the law really is a bit impractical and unsatisfactory at the moment. I’m not sure that Parliament has actually passed any legislation about this since the case in 2015 therefore the section 28B technically remains in force albeit the court has outlawed it’s future use. Again very unsatisfactory.

I hope this helped you today. Please do let me know if I can clarify anything. I am always happy to help. You are always welcome to ask a follow up question if it will help you further.

Customer: replied 13 days ago.
Can you clarify what you mean when you say the 'issue of enforcement is relevant.'? I understand that no one would stop you in the example you use about the back up CD-- but in what sense is it relevant to the legal question? Have there been examples where something which has got to a court or something, and the defendant has been technically doing something illegal but everyone's recognised the law was kind of silly and brushed over it?

I have given you the legal answer. And I have simply commented on the practical reality of the situation. There is not such court case because the royalty collectors would not be so stupid as to bring such a case in the example I have given you.

Customer: replied 13 days ago. this advice-- it talks about financial compensation you might pay if you admit you've infringed copyright in some way. But it also questions'In practice, it’s difficult to say how much damages might be or whether they are appropriate for non-commercial infringers, such as consumers.'First of all-- is the quote I've just copy and pasted to you technically a copyright infringement?And second can you comment on why in practice it's hard to say whether damages are appropriate for consumers? Legally what are the issues at play?

Sorry, I’m not understanding the second part of your question.

Customer: replied 11 days ago.
In the article I linked where it says'In practice, it’s difficult to say how much damages might be or whether they are appropriate for non-commercial infringers, such as consumers.'Why would this be the case? It's talking about compensation owed for copyright infringement-- but then questions whether it would be appropriate for consumers to pay copyright holders when they infringe copyright. Why would this be inappropriate?

It’ll be because of the difficulties in enforcement and the question would be whether it is worth having a law that can’t be enforced.

Customer: replied 11 days ago.
OK thank you. Just a couple more things.If you don't record or make a copy of it-- I suppose private performances of other people's songs and poetry would be fine? Like I could play a copyrighted song to my friends in my home without a licence or anything-- it's just when I film it, that it becomes a copy and therefore illegal?Also with private study-- I am allowed to copy things a bit more, because it's an exception?-- like make notes on a book for example for my own reference? But there are limits to how much you can copy for this too though?

1. Yes because you’re not copying it. 2. A copy for private study is fine.

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