back to article Musicians sue UK.gov over 'zero pay' copyright fix

Musicians and composers have launched a High Court legal challenge to a change the government has made to UK copyright law. British bureaucrats insisted on introducing a long-overdue private copying exception without compensation - the only European state to do so. The exception "legalises" the making of a copy of legitimately …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    SOS, DD

    When all public officials agree to work for free and without lavish benefits then and only then should any politician expect or require artists to not be compensated for a copy of their art. In addition only one copy of that art shall exist per person. If more than one copy exist then we have a case of piracy, not a reasonable archival of purchased art.

    1. hapticz

      Re: SOS, DD, more phoney money baloney..

      any of these artist's is complicit in the 'copying industry' scam, as they profit from unperformed (no actual singing or playing) of their so called 'art'. the copying industry includes all manner of management, technical and manufacturing (all the way down to the floor of the pressing plant) and distribution matrix. these artists have become so lazy, they dont even perform real music, they lip-sync, use prerecorded background tracks, hire writers to script their lyrics, and pretend they have created music art. every audible/visual fleck of information that does not come straight from their pea brain, drug fueled, sex immersed mouths is a worthless fake. if these artists want money, they can perform 365 daya year on stage, doing their art, for real. like most of the fobs that do real work, and hand off TRILLIONS of dollars to the intermediary copying industry for non-performance fakes of their productions. we are all being had, by Sony, Samsung, Phillips, Intel, and any other corporate middle man or management that reaps BILLIONS in profits from some of the few (and i mean FEW) real artists out there. so phoooey on the lot of you!

      1. MartinB105

        Re: SOS, DD, more phoney money baloney..

        Arguing that artists should only get paid for performing is stupid. Some musical works are not designed or intended to be performed. For example, have you ever seen how many dozens of individual tracks a typical work of Shpongle is composed of!? There's no way Shpongle are going to be performing every single piece of that manually live on stage, especially since Shpongle is just two individuals. This is just one example; there are MANY more.

        Let's not be stupid about this, OK?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: SOS, DD, more phoney money baloney..

        Serious artists have already done enough by making an amazing record. They totally deserve compensation for that recording if it is giving pleasure - if it is being enjoyed.

        "if these artists want money, they can perform 365 daya year on stage, doing their art, for real."

        Yeah, and why not kick a cripple on the way out, will ya? They're not pulling their weight in society. That's your logic, anyway.

        I smell a bitter, envious loser.

  2. Aitor 1 Silver badge

    Makes sense

    Why should I pay money to an artist because I want to have his music (witch I DO pay for) in my cellphone as well ?

    They aren't offering any kind of service or good, they just want the money for nothing (and I'm not movind colour tvs..).

    We could have discussions about piracy and compensation, but that is different. Here we are talking about charging twice.

    I

    1. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: Makes sense

      "Here we are talking about charging twice."

      You might be - nobody else is.

      1. localzuk

        Re: Makes sense

        So, taxation on devices that have the potential to be used for copying is not charging twice? I've not ripped a CD in over 6 years. I have, however, burnt dozens of CDs of data, my own videos and photos etc... I've used mobile devices to play legally paid for music via Spotify, and to play for legally purchased downloaded music.

        How would my paying tax on those items *not* be my paying twice? That's the scheme other countries have used, and it amounts to an unfair tax in my mind.

        1. Chad H.

          Re: Makes sense

          >>>>So, taxation on devices that have the potential to be used for copying is not charging twice?

          Not only is it charging twice for stuff you bought, its charging the first time for stuff you didn't buy, and didn't want.

          If there was a levy on blank media to pay for piracy, then morally there can be no objection should I choose to fill that media with pirated stuff - I already paid the premium for that, and so there can be no loss on the other side.

          1. Tapeador
            FAIL

            Re: Makes sense

            "If there was a levy on blank media to pay for piracy, then morally there can be no objection should I choose to fill that media with pirated stuff - I already paid the premium for that, and so there can be no loss on the other side."

            I think the analogy is more with the Motor Insurer Bureau's fund for harm caused by uninsured drivers, which pays out a small fraction of the cost of an accident, in a limited number of cases - and it's paid for by all motorists. You pay a) because the key market players have decided your altruistically part-compensating victims for others' harmful acts is the correct course; and b) perhaps because because the medium (driving a car) as a whole carries with it a risk of unlawful and uncompensated harm - or some similar argument about drivers paying for (a fraction of) the harm of unlawful driving whosoever causes it, just as with tapers paying for (a fraction of) the harm of unlawful taping, whosoever causes it, and not just abandoning the victims wholly to their own resources. It doesn't compensate for the whole harm, no way.

            Your claim seems to be that paying such a premium once, gives you moral permission to steal a car, drive it around uninsured, and crash it into people/things. How that is morally justified, and indeed how it follows that there is "no loss" as you say, when you do so, baffles me utterly.

      2. Fluffy Bunny
        Flame

        Re: Makes sense

        "You might be - nobody else is."

        Actually, we are. I will often buy a CD, then rip it to a USB to play in my car because I don't want to leave the real CD in my car - it attracts rocks through the windows, which are expensive to fix.

        Because there is only one person listening to the music, I should only have to pay once. I am simply doing a format change, not giving it to anyone else. But big music hires shills to sell our ignorant MPs on the benefits of forcing me to pay for a 2nd copy.

        1. Red Bren
          Pirate

          Re: Makes sense

          "Because there is only one person listening to the music, I should only have to pay once."

          I played a CD in the car while my family were travelling with me. Where do I send the money I owe?

        2. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

          Re: Re: Makes sense

          @FluffyBunny Something like UV, where you pay once for lifetime access to a movie? What a good idea.

          You're arguing for better licenses.

          1. PassiveSmoking

            Re: Makes sense

            Have you actually ever tried to use UV? It's such a ridiculous system that I gave up on it very quickly. Given the choice between a UV disc and a "triple play" disc (which includes the blu-ray, a DVD and usually an iTunes download of the same content) I'll take the triple-play version every time. UV seems to have been either deliberately designed to discourage you from using it, or simply designed by people who didn't realise people might want to use it.

        3. dan1980

          Re: Makes sense

          When you buy something like a CD or DVD, you are buying a license to use the content.

          The dire warnings make this clear.

          This licensing is a reasonable situation - after all it is not the case that, having bought a CD, you could then use the music as the soundtrack to a movie. Nor could you remix the songs and release them.

          So far so good.

          The problem comes when these licenses are used to restrict your consumption of that content beyond what is logically consistent with the 'you purchase a license to listen to a song' model. Preventing people making copies of a CD for personal use is just not justifiable under this structure.

          Why would you? They have purchased a license to listen to a song - what possible reason can there be to prevent someone listening to that song on an MP3 player?

          If I listen to an album twice at home on my stereo, how is that in any way different from listening to it once at home and then again on my MP3 player when I go for a walk? I have listened to an album twice - why should anyone get a single cent more for the second scenario than the first?

      3. This post has been deleted by a moderator

      4. LucreLout Silver badge

        Re: Makes sense

        "Here we are talking about charging twice."

        You might be - nobody else is.

        I've bought "Bat outta hell" by Meatloaf on vinyl, cassette and CD. How many more formats is it reasonable for Mr Loaf to expect me to buy before we both just accept that I've paid him enough for the music?

        I should be allowed to create backup copies and change formats as best fits my needs. Piracy means the aritst doesn't get paid, but backups and format changes mean they do get paid, but only once - which in a neat little bout of cosmic justice, is how many times they put the work into producing it.

    2. Uffish

      Re: Makes sense

      So can I video the film next time I go to the cinema? You have to buy a ticket to see the film so I will have paid for my share of the performance and by your argument I should be allowed to make a copy for my smartphone.

      Just because no-one can realistically stop the home copying of CDs and DVDs doesn't, by itself, make it legal.

      1. localzuk

        Re: Makes sense

        @Uffish - no. When you go to the cinema, you are paying to watch a single showing of a film. You aren't buying a copy of the movie.

  3. Anonymous Blowhard

    People won't know who to hate in this one...

    You have a choice of:

    Musicians

    Record Companies

    UK Government

    The European Union

    1. Someone Else Silver badge
      IT Angle

      Re: People won't know who to hate in this one...

      That could be an inclusive OR...

      1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

        Re: People won't know who to hate in this one...

        I don't have anything against real musicians (not the mass-manufactured clones from x-factor etc). Not at all.

        All the music I have in my collection has been paid for, often more than once (remasters, reremasters, special editions, what have you). I go to concerts when I can (dragging my family with me more often than not) and I even bought band-branded beer a few times (BBT)...

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Never quite understood the whinging from the music industry, you'd think music had been wiped out or something?

    http://news.jazzjournalists.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/chart-of-the-day-music-industry-1973-2009-feb-2011.jpg

    At the moment we're back down to 1989 levels. Which considering there's now games consoles and computers with their £40 a go games is pretty good going. There's only a finite amount of money to spend.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So...

    ...the blank media levy rears it's ugly head again.

    Still kids, remember, home taping is killing music!

    1. Chad H.

      Re: So...

      Everyone knows that the music industy died with the event of Music Radio, because, as the music industry informed us at the time, nobody would pay for music when they can stay home and listen to it for free.

      Anyone who thus claims to be a professional musician or represent some "music industry" therefore must by definition be a fraudster as no such industry can logically still be in existience.

  6. SuperTim

    Compensation?

    For what exactly? I bought the CD, I am copying it for my own use, so still a single licencee involved. The fact it is now in two physical locations is not relevant. I bought the right to listen to it (or at least, that's how it should work).

    This won't solve the issue for piracy, as that would still be illegal if I chose to make my "copy" available to others.

    Also, doesn't blank media have a so-called subsidy for the assumed copying that goes on? It used to if I recall.

    1. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: Compensation?

      "The fact it is now in two physical locations is not relevant. I bought the right to listen to it (or at least, that's how it should work)."

      It's relevant in so far as you are not actually allowed to make a copy of something without a license to do so. The EU's 2001 directive sets out exceptions where this might be permitted. Personal use (of lawfully acquired etc etc) is one of themonly permitted where compensation is also introduced. It doesn't say what this compensation should be.

      Would it make more sense to offer a "license to hear it anywhere" or even a "lifetime license"? Undoubtedly yes, and we're moving towards that.

      "This won't solve the issue for piracy, as that would still be illegal if I chose to make my "copy" available to others."

      Yes, spot on.

      "Also, doesn't blank media have a so-called subsidy for the assumed copying that goes on? It used to if I recall."

      Not in the UK. It's not a levy-friendly country which is why nobody is calling for one. The Copyright Minister:

      "The Government do not believe that British consumers would tolerate private copying levies. They are inefficient, bureaucratic and unfair, and disadvantage people who pay for content."

      http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld201415/ldhansrd/text/140729-0001.htm#14072947000224

      1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

        Re: Compensation?

        "It's relevant in so far as you are not actually allowed to make a copy of something without a license to do so."

        But that's purely an artificial construct and a tautology if used in an argument - "it's not allowed because it is not allowed".

        Let's suppose I "lobbied" by council to let me draw a line across the street where I live and toll everyone who steps over it. That will be licensed and legal but the essence of it will still be a good old racket as I'd provide no value in exchange for the money I'd collect. Same thing is with the copyright if it is applied in the way the rights holders always want.

        1. SDoradus

          Re: Compensation?

          The courts would disagree with you. The value you gained was the permission to listen.

          More generally, copyright takes many forms and you must have 'artificial constructs' or legal terms of art merely to discuss it.

          For example, copyright subsists not just in the medium but in a performance. For decade upon decade, since radios began blaring popular music in the early years of last century, workers like garage mechanics had the radio going in their workplace. This meant the public could also listen to the radio broadcast. At least from 1988 (and arguably earlier) this changed, and a number of small businesses - a garage mechanic was the first - were put out of business by the legal costs associated with allowing the public to hear the radio blaring in the back of the workshop.

          So remember: a "licence to hear a track anywhere" doesn't mean you won't be done for copyright infringement if the public can hear it too.

      2. LDS Silver badge

        Re: Compensation?

        Being forbidden to make a copy means that once I paid for the right to listen to their music on a given medium they will replace such a medium if it is damaged or lost? Or that I can send back my old CD and obtain it in a new format?

        The music industry is hiding behind a finger. It hoped new media would have allowed to sell the *same* contents to the *same* people over and over as long media evolved. A 'perfect' plan to make lots of money with minimal efforts. Just repackage old stuff in a new format, and sell it again.

        Just to find the new media allowed to move contents to newer technology easily, without any need to repurchase. Just like you get your own old photos and movies digitalized.

        When the plan to extract as much money as they could from the same contents failed, a 'compensation' was sought. Of course, the perfect target are the end users, regardless of what they do or don't. Just to make some overly rich 'artists' even richer, and those gathering compensation money as well.

        Frankly, as a software developer, it's like if I asked to repurchase my software every time you switch to a new OS, while asking you to read the software from the original media each time, and forbidding you to make any copy, even on the hard disk - and we get no compensation....

      3. Tom 35 Silver badge

        Re: Compensation?

        What is this license shit? You are just making stuff up. I bought a CD, I didn't negotiate a license, or even see one. There is copyright law.

        So where is this so called license? Who wrote it? When did it come into force?

        1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

          1. Ben Tasker Silver badge

            Re: Compensation?

            Just a tip - if you're ever in front of the beak, don't expect them to agree with you ;)

            Whether you like it or not, Parliament passes laws which they _can_ punish breaches of (so long as a sufficiently large proportion of the population abides by them - they can't punish us all). Copyright is just one of those laws.

            What the muso's are asking for is farkin ridiculous (for reasons plenty of others have stated), but you've just made them look a comparatively normal IYDMMS

            1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

              Re: Compensation?

              @SDoradus & Ben Tasker

              Please note that I am not arguing whether something is legal or not in this particular case. My concern is whether this should or shouldn't be so.

              My argument is that format shifting for personal use should be legal and there is no case for the original artist getting any compensation for it alone.

              SDoradus, you say the value I get is a permission to listen.

              Yes, OK, when I buy a CD - I get a dataset of x samples of sound in digital form and a permission to convert them into acoustic waves whenever I feel like. When I rip that CD to MP3 - no new samples are being acquired and the end results, when I listen to that MP3, are the acoustic waves of equal or lower fidelity than before. The path from samples to sound is irrelevant. I get no additional value from the artist.

              So far I have not heard any rational counterargument to that except "oh, it's prohibited by law". Anything can be prohibited by law if you have enough money and influence to get it through the system. It doesn't count.

              1. strum Silver badge

                Re: Compensation?

                >So far I have not heard any rational counterargument to that

                Try this: when the artist signed on the dotted line, he did so on the terms of the contract in question, and within the legal provisions of the time. This latter included the promise that he would be paid every time someone made a copy.

                The EU have chosen (probably correctly) to alter that context, so that a central pillar of his contract is diminished. In recognition of this fact, the EU simultaneously recommended 'comprensation' for that loss.

                See - it's not that difficult after all, is it?

                1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

                  Re: Compensation?

                  No, you are missing the same point in the same way.

                  Copyright does not guarantee you get paid for every copy. It only prohibits others from making copies without your consent. It is presumed that you will not give your consent if you don't think you are suitably compensated, but you might.

                  When taken literally, that means one cannot format-shift without the rights holder's approval and the rights holders can demand payment in exchange for letting someone do that.

                  I am not saying it isn't the case. What I'm saying is that it is unfair and abusive when applied to the reality of the modern technology and so must be changed (as is happening now) and the changes should not include the right for the copyright holder to demand compensation for format-shifting (as is seemingly happening as well).

                  Also, I disagree with your idea that the artists are somehow incurring a loss because of this change.

                  They have never been paid for the format-shifting before, when it was happening illegitimately, so, if they won't get paid now it is only maintaining the status quo.

        2. SDoradus

          Re: Compensation?

          I bet the jewel case insert had a copyright indication on it somewhere. That, legally speaking put you on notice that terms and conditions of a licence existed. It's your responsibility to find out what those are.

          Of course, people in general don't bother - just like they don't go into the stationmaster's office and look at the terms and conditions of carriage every time they go by train. Doesn't make the fine print non-existent.

      4. JP19

        Re: Compensation?

        "only permitted where compensation is also introduced. It doesn't say what this compensation should be"

        On behalf of all the people in the world to all rights holders I say "Thanks". Compensation at an appropriate level has been introduced and delivered. Job done, move along.

      5. SDoradus

        Re: Compensation?

        Not sure why Mr Orlowski's comments above were so heavily downvoted.

        One might not like that "you are not actually allowed to make a copy of something without a license to do so", but it's trite law for copyrightable items. That a copy "would still be illegal if I chose to make my "copy" available to others", likewise. And that there is no blank media subsidy in the UK is simply a fact.

        I'd observe that it does make sense to offer a "license to hear [a track] anywhere" or even a "lifetime license", and I'm fascinated that the UK "may be moving to that"; but if we take that literally the implications are wider than one might think.

        1. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

          Re: Re: Compensation?

          "Not sure why Mr Orlowski's comments above were so heavily downvoted"

          It's expected - people confuse the law with a license. The law merely sets the boundaries for trade, but it's the licensing permits what people can do with the stuff in the real world.

          Pretty much everything is permissable with a license and two willing parties. The GPL wouldn't exist without very strong copyright law setting the boundaries.

          Entitlement culture and Big Tech propaganda have done their job. And I'm still waiting for my "legal p2p file sharing".

    2. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      IIRC: The UK does not have a blank media levy

      Several other countries do have a blank media levy, along with arguments about who gets paid, how the money is distributed, and what to do about people creating their own content to store on their devices. The arguments are a big waste of time as the real beneficiaries are usually the people who administer the fund.

  7. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

    Strange argument

    I never understood the logic behind the argument that musicians should be entitled to any "compensation" if someone rips a legitimately purchased CD to MP3 for their own personal use.

    It just doesn't stack up - no new data has been acquired, there is no improvement of quality, any improvement in convenience is solely due to the technology involved (and paid for) and no reasonable person can expect somebody to be able to listen simultaneously to both the CD and the MP3 - so only one copy is in use at any given time.

    Where is the value added by the musician during the ripping process for which they must be compensated?

    Meanwhile, if every media item were to be taxed to pay to the poor artists why should I pay them anything if all I burn on my DVDs is my family home videos?

    I'm with the UK on this, not with the continent.

    1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      Stop being reasonable - this has nothing to do with reason

      I could by a DVD, or I could pay 'extra' (currently often £0) for a DVD with Ultraviolet. If I can legally rip my DVD's to my local NAS for free, there is no reason for paying extra for Ultraviolet, and a company whose service I will never want will disappear.

      I am avoiding Ultraviolet because every view is a download that will quickly surpass my ISP's limits and will almost certainly get bumpy when other people are watching Ultraviolet. With no recurring income, Ultraviolet's servers will die from lack of budget, and I will get the choice of pay per view, or my investment in Ultraviolet evaporating.

      1. DavCrav Silver badge

        Re: Stop being reasonable - this has nothing to do with reason

        "I could by a DVD, or I could pay 'extra' (currently often £0) for a DVD with Ultraviolet. If I can legally rip my DVD's to my local NAS for free, there is no reason for paying extra for Ultraviolet, and a company whose service I will never want will disappear.

        I am avoiding Ultraviolet because every view is a download that will quickly surpass my ISP's limits and will almost certainly get bumpy when other people are watching Ultraviolet. With no recurring income, Ultraviolet's servers will die from lack of budget, and I will get the choice of pay per view, or my investment in Ultraviolet evaporating."

        Ultraviolet is a solution to a problem that consumers can already solve themselves, albeit unlawfully. Ultraviolet is clunky and expensive (in terms of bandwidth), only available when you have a good Internet connection, and doesn't work with all your media. Strangely enough, people go with the unlawful way that's much easier and better. I can either rip DVDs onto an external hard drive that I can take with me, or I can submit my personal data to those fluffy media companies to mine, and in the end have a system that doesn't work properly. Hmm.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Strange argument

      "I'm with the UK on this, not with the continent."

      We'll have you voting for Nigel soon.

  8. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

    Please explain ...

    Plan A: I buy a CD, illegally rip it to my mp3 player and listen to it through headphones. The RIAA could sue me to bankruptcy and pay the musicians only the royalty on the CD (minus expenses) because the contract does not include revenue from fines (which would be completely eaten by legal fees anyway). Instead, the RIAA don't sue me because of the public outrage it would cause.

    Plan B: I buy a CD, legally rip it to my mp3 player and listen to it through headphones. The RIAA do not sue me because I have not broken UK law, even though UK law is not consistent with EU law.

    Plan C: I buy a CD, legally rip it to my mp3 player and listen to it through headphones. The government gives a contribution to some revenue distribution company as required by EU law. The distribution company sits on the money until they have spent it all on administration.

    How have musicians lost out because I ripped my CD to an mp3 player, listened to it on headphones and the govenment did not pay the compensation required by EU law?

    1. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: Please explain ...

      Because you didn't buy two copies.

      (And don't blame me, or the musicians or the composers- that's the law).

      Funds/levies compensate a fraction of the value of two copies, because not everybody likes something enough to buy two.

      1. Radbruch1929

        Re: Please explain ...

        > Because you didn't buy two copies.

        > (And don't blame me, or the musicians or the composers- that's the law).

        I politely disagree: the law is that you are not allowed to make copies of a work at all without permission. This permission is tailored in the way the licensor sees fit. The right to private copies is a consumer right to limit what would be seen as abusive "contract practices" (yes, I know, it is not really a contract). Imagine a software license that prohibits you from making backups.

        The directive's idea behind the requirement for compensation derives from the expectation that the work would see more use than usually expected at the time of the license if it is legitimately copied. With regard to software, IMHO the "additional use" from the backups is priced in. I doubt many people consciously buy software that is forbidden to be backed up.

        With regard to music etc., uk.gov might also be able to show that indeed the expected additional use is already part of the compensation paid to the licensor. Than "none" would be the required compensation.

        1. Roland6 Silver badge

          Re: Please explain ...

          I also politely disagree: UK case law predates the EU directive by several decades. As soon as compact tape and video tape arrived on the market along with consumer recording and playback equipment the industry was faced with the challenge of copying for personal use and basically lost the case.

          Furthermore, they have to justify the position they have taken over several years now with respect to devices such as those openly sold by Brennan, a UK company who do not pay a levy to the music industry for their devices and so totally relevant to the UK legal situation.

          So all the UK government are doing is bringing the law into line with normal consumer practice that has operated for over 30 years.

          It would not surprise me if this high court action is actually the first step of trying to take a case to the EU court, where the music industry holds out hope that it will ultimately find favour and overturn both UK law and precedence.

          1. strum Silver badge

            Re: Please explain ...

            >basically lost the case.

            Lost what case? As far as I am aware, there has never been any case law on this matter in this country (largely because the the record cos feared that they might lose).

            It remains a fact that, until this recent change, it was illegal to copy music - on to a cassette, CD, USB or anywhere. It's called 'copyright' for a reason. It may be bollocks, but it's the law.

            1. Roland6 Silver badge

              Re: Please explain ... @strum

              >Lost what case?

              The written law may say one thing, but established and unchallenged practise (ie. something that has been openly done without legal challenge for at least ten years) can over ride...

              Hence because the industry decided back in the 70's and 80's not to challenge things and effectively gave a nod to personal copying, they have largely lost the protection of the law. To stand a chance of being successful the music industry will have to explain why the action they are taking to day is somehow different to what has gone before and hence attempt to override a well established precedence.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Please explain ...

          I think you'll find that most software licenses DO prohibit the making of backup copies. It is in their EULA.

          1. Roland6 Silver badge

            Re: Please explain ...

            I think you'll find that most software licenses DO prohibit the making of backup copies. It is in their EULA.

            That depends upon the format of the distribution, with the limitation applying explicitly to the original media image(s) supplied, once the software has been installed different rules apply. I've yet to see a software company attempt to sue a company for breech of license because the company's backup and archive strategy meant they have multiple copies of the installed software kicking around.

            Also in the enterprise space much is still done on trust with the licence effectively only limiting the number of production instances that can be run.

  9. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge

    So how does Amazon "autorip" get away with it?

    Last time I bought a CD from Amazon I was also able to download a digital copy for free.

    1. SteveK

      Re: So how does Amazon "autorip" get away with it?

      Last time I bought a CD from Amazon I was also able to download a digital copy for free.

      And last time I was looking, the CD with free download of the digital copy was cheaper than buying just the download version of the same album from Amazon...

      1. Strange Fruit

        Re: So how does Amazon "autorip" get away with it?

        If you'd looked the following day it would have been different. Amazon use very dynamic pricing on music

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: So how does Amazon "autorip" get away with it?

      Amazon pay for both copies to the publisher/music company.

      They are so big they broker deals which means they pay very little to have that feature.

  10. Paul Crawford Silver badge

    How would compensation work? A tax on blank CDs (a past technology for music transfer), or on HDDs, and if so how is it calculated? Given a 4TB disk could hold millions of songs, should it be taxed to the £1k range?

    The other side of this coin is the question of pirating, if you have already paid compensation on your audio equipment for the right to copy, why should it matter where you copied from? In such a case it is going to end very badly for the music industry.

    Finally, how is this done in the USA where "fair use" AFIK allows copying without a fee? Do they offer compensation for it, and if not, why should the EU?

    (Just to say I do believe musicians deserve compensation for their work, but this seems an unworkable position that you deserve compensation for what has been allowed for years and is seen as "fair use").

    1. LDS Silver badge

      In Italy it ended up to be a tax on any blank media, including HDDs, and every device able to store music - including smartphones. Money go to SIAE, the Italian society of artists, that after wasting a lot in its own interest, gives the rest to Italian musicians, of course being unable to know who gets copied most, so who sell more gets more money.

      I stopped to buy music wholly. If I'm charged any time I buy a media or device for my use (I buy a lot of storage for my own photos) and doing that I pay someone who does nothing I use, well, I will not give 'em not an Euro.

      Moreover as a software developer I don't get an euro for people 'personal copies', and really can't understand why musicians should be threated differently.

      1. hapticz

        Italians have deduced the proper means of payment.

        if this is true, i applaud the Italian monetary schemes. but i still say if they don't play their stuff within earshot, I AINT PAYING A DIME . if its crap music i can walk away or have them arrested for disturbing the peace.

  11. Quotes

    Compensation has already been paid

    The price of music, whether it is a download or a CD, already reflects the cost of lost revenue from piracy and format shifting. It's built into the legitimate purchase price. No musician has ever been compensated for format shifting before now, so this is not revenue they had any expectation of receiving. The UK government is right - there is no need to compensate, other methods of compensation are already in place (built into the original purchase costs) and this extra money is not going to be missed by anyone.

    The cost of a PRS licence to play music in a workplace is another hideous abomination

    1. Strange Fruit

      Re: Compensation has already been paid

      The cost of a PRS licence to play music in a workplace is a fair trade. You also have the choices of no music or employing a bunch of minstrels to play for you all day, every day. Nobody forces you. If you don't want to pay it then do without music.

      1. Dave Bell

        Re: Compensation has already been paid

        The way PRS licences work suggests the weaknesses of any compensation system. I know people who have recorded music, done the PRS paperwork, have had the recording played in public under a PRS Licence, and got not a penny of payment.

        If we ever get the internet of things working, it might be possible to automatically track the details of what gets played where, and pay the musicians, and at a not-excessive admin cost.

      2. Patrick Moody

        Re: Compensation has already been paid

        Nonsense. The PRS licence in the workplace would only be fair if it wasn't also charged for just listening to a radio. The performers are already compensated by the radio station from the funds they receive from their advertisers and the listeners in the workplace, by being exposed to those ads, are effectively paying for it that way. The more people listen, the more exposure for the adverts, the more those adverts are worth and the more a radio station can charge for them by having higher listener numbers and this increase is presumably reflected in the fees paid to the record companies.

        The only situation I can think of where it would be fair for an employer to have to pay PRS is if the employer has its own juke-box or other method of playing music that was purchased as a CD (or mp3 or whatever). Since the CD price was based on a single person's use, and the employer is playing it to many people and there's no radio-station collecting ad-revenue in line with the number of people listening to pass it on to the artist, this is the only situation where I think an argument can be made for the artist having lost out.

        1. Expectingtheworst
          Facepalm

          Re: Compensation has already been paid

          So all the employees bring their own same CDs into work and tracks are played in turn from each ?

          No one is listening to a piece of music they don't own. New meaning to a stack of music.

          I had a Hi Fi shop at one time and the argument that we asked the customers to bring in their own CDs held no sway. We also pointed out that without the equipment we were selling, there would be no or a very reduced ability to play CDs leading to fewer sales and perhaps they should pay us a royalty.

          Those people have no sense of humour !

          Most musicians get nothing from any of these 'taxes', only a few of the largest sellers, and one could argue that these are the ones that least need the money.

  12. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  13. Fibbles

    Regardless of your opinion on blank media levies and the like, we should all be giving the IPO a damn good kicking. The EU directive is clear about artist remuneration; all the IPO have done by ignoring it is ensured that we, the taxpayers, are going to have to pay for a lengthy legal process which will inevitably side with the existing EU rules.

    If the IPO wants to change the rules regarding compensation for private-use copying then they need to do it at a European level. Ignoring existing rules is just pissing our money up against the wall for no good reason.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "If the IPO wants to change the rules regarding compensation for private-use copying then they need to do it at a European level. "

      Alternatively our government could grow a pair, recognise that Brussels has no army, and has (remarkably) an even smaller democratic mandate than Westminster, and just tell the the European Commission to fuck, and not come back unless they've got tanks.

      1. PJI

        @Ledswinger

        We did not have to join. We did, so we stick with the rules, just as we expect the other members to do so when to our advantage.

        Do you take that bully-boy attitude to anything with which you disagree - break the law, agreements, promises as long as you think you can get away with it? Or do you live in a civilised society where we follow some rules and conventions for conduct to make it a pleasanter world for all of us in the long run?

        Personally, I see this copying as a big problem for authors, musicians, artists and photographers, just as for software writers or computer designers who need to pay to live, support families etc.. A moderate number of copies for the buyer's personal use seems reasonable. But does that include giving your friend or your wife or your child a copy? How many can you distribute this way? If you write an app and put it on an app store for, say, a quid and then find that it seems to be on everyone's mobile but you have not seen more than a thousand pounds covering not even your time and computer to develop it, how do you feel?

        The other extreme: e-books limiting your copy to just the machine you bought; Monsanto preventing farmers from using seed, from crops grown form genetically "improved" Monsanto seed, to grow next year's crop as traditionally done (or just engineering the seed genetics to make it sterile).

        I found both extremes problematic. But I do know, I want artists and engineers to be able to make a decent living from their creativity and ability and not just have the "international conglomerates" cream off all the profit.

        1. Jamie Jones Silver badge

          Re: @Ledswinger

          Seeing as you mention apps, I've bought a number of Android apps, and the system has no issue with me installing them multiple times from the Play Store to my tablets and my android-tv.

          Could this be abused by sharing my google login with friends? Perhaps, but I feel more trusted, and know that I've spent more on apps in total than I would if they had draconian systems like the music industry which treat every customer as a criminal.

    2. Roland6 Silver badge

      "If the IPO wants to change the rules regarding compensation for private-use copying then they need to do it at a European level."

      There is no evidence of the IPO actually changing the rules. As has been exampled by others the "fair compensation" in the UK is zero. Do the musicians and their representatives need a cheque to be written out for that amount before they understand?

  14. Conor Turton

    Want their cake and to eat it

    They'll never be satisfied. They already got the copyright term limits raised so that they can continue to profit off their music half a century after its release or 70 years after its creation.

    Then there's the "we sold our music to a record company for £250,000 but we don't make any money from sales" whingers. They weren't complaining when they got a £250,000 cheque were they?

    It seems that for the performing arts, the more successful you get the more entitled you believe you are.

    1. Oldfogey
      Flame

      Re: Want their cake and to eat it

      Personally, I am seriously annoyed by the immoral and unnacceptable increase in the copyright period for existing material.

      Copyright is an agreement between the artist and society, giving the artist a period of monopoly in which to earn what they can from their art. To retrospectively extend this monopoly is unjust to society, and should never have been permitted.

      As a result, I personally have no respect for any copyright over 50 years, and much less than i otherwise would have for younger works.

      1. Strange Fruit

        Re: Want their cake and to eat it

        The problem with this is that it's (mostly) not a contract between artist and society. It's a contract between major label and society. As soon as an artist signs to a label then they no longer own their own work (much like any job). The major labels are big companies with big overheads who are trying to maintain their share price. They are in the business of continuing their business model for as long as they possibly can. The big label model is dead, they just haven't realised it yet so are trying to carry on with business as usual.

        Declared interest: I am one of the directors of a small record label. I do not agree with the the position that format shifting is wrong. It should not be illegal

        1. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

          Re: Re: Want their cake and to eat it

          "As soon as an artist signs to a label then they no longer own their own work (much like any job)."

          Many artists retain master rights, and this is standard practice for independent contracts. In Germany it is not possible to assign copyright at all.

          You claim to be the director of a label. I would advise artists to steer well clear of your company, if this reflects your understanding of music rights.

          That's if your label actually exists.

      2. Uffish

        Re: Want their cake and to eat it

        Is this how copyright works? An awfull lot of copyright seems to be owned by companies rather than musicians. These companies are often big enough to have substantial lobbying power. Count yourself lucky copyright isn't in perpetuity (yet).

      3. strum Silver badge

        Re: Want their cake and to eat it

        >As a result, I personally have no respect for any copyright over 50 years, and much less than i otherwise would have for younger works.

        Although I actually agree with you, we have a problem; if we decide that we can ignore the period of copyright we don't approve of, why should any period be sacrosanct? It's the law. If you don't like the law, criticise the lawmakers, don't cheat on the bits of the law you don't like.

    2. DocJames
      Mushroom

      Re: Want their cake and to eat it

      It seems that for the performing arts, the more successful you get the more entitled you believe you are.

      See: Cliff Richard, believing all he's told to say to support increasing copyright.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Megaphone

    When I see these kinds of issues being endlessly debated it really does occur to me that we desperately need to get to a post scarcity society.

    When we can be as creative as we want without the need to work for money, copyright would become superfluous, along with about 95% of the government bureaucracy that we currently have.

    I'm sick to my backteeth with all this obsession with the minutiae of the small technical details of "private copying", "media conversion" and "fair use" I'm reminded of the pointless bickering of religious nutters debating the fine point of religious belief. Meanwhile, none if this makes a jot of practical difference to musicians or composers.

    I won't see it my lifetime, and at present I'm not hopeful for my grandkids either.

    1. PJI

      creative as we want?

      Um. Seems to me that you take creativity too lightly. We can be so, as much as we want. But few of us are really, originally or even cleverly creative in a way makes our work desirable or useful to others. That skill, just like the ability to design and make a fine piece of furniture or even just to improve a washing machine to make it better value, longer lasting, more efficient and easier should be encouraged and rewarded. If it goes on being desirable or useful over the years, the rewards should keep coming. I suspect that the original length of a copyright was to approximate to the expected life of the creator.

      Up until Victorian times, copyright was unenforceable internationally. The young USA was among the worst offenders - the China of its time. Charles Dickens was rather bitter about it as it was his living and cost him dear. Why should anyone expect to sponge off the ability of others?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: creative as we want?

        I'm not sure what your argument is in relation to my comment. (Did you perhaps respond to the wrong comment?)

        Creativity certainly has value but money is not the only way to measure value. In fact I would argue that it is the least moral way to value creativity.

        Long before we had copyright, creativity was valued by emulation, parody or straight reproduction.

        "Illicit Copying" is only a dirty word these days because it is perceived as robbing a creator of their means to make a "living". As a society we didn't always think so. Given that creators don't need money, isn't acclaim or fame or a straight "thank you" even better and more honest?

        Are free or open software creations valueless because those programmers work for nothing or give their stuff away for nothing? I submit not.

      2. SDoradus

        Re: creative as we want?

        "I suspect that the original length of a copyright was to approximate to the expected life of the creator."

        These days it's Life + 70 years in the UK.

        The original length of a copyright, though, was fourteen years (Statute of Anne). Renewable once, so perhaps that could have approximated the life of the author. But by around 1830 it had grown to about twice that, and it's been on a roll ever since.

        There is no end in sight, and indeed the US Supreme Court has sidestepped the rule against perpetual copyright by permitting the US Congress to enact any finite length it deems 'reasonable'. Where the US goes, by treaty and law the rest will follow.

  16. heyrick Silver badge

    "Perhaps IPO officials, keen to “stick it to the man”, were hoping people will blame the music industry rather than their own mean-spirited interpretation of European copyright law."

    What evidence is there that the IPO officials were "keen to 'stick it to the man'"? The music industry would like us to buy the same thing numerous times in different formats which is as ridiculous today (CD->MP3) as it was when I was young (LP->tape). If you buy a copy for yourself, why should you pay per playback device? Could making a copy for your own use not be considered fair use?

    I live in a country where blank media has a built-in levy. Oddly enough, most of the blank media I buy is for backups and such of my data, source codes, blah blah, but mostly my own video recordings (which, encoded 'live' are a lot larger in size than a codec that has the luxury of running at 10fps). Most of my MP3s live on a USB harddisc with a copy on an SD card and a DVD-R. That's one active copy and two backups, which might represent a decimal point in the blank media that I have bought. I'm not complaining, I'm just pointing out that a media levy is not necessarily the logical solution.

    Finally, consider downloaded music. You have to put those somewhere, so you may end up in the interesting situation of buying a media (SD card, harddisc, etc) with a built-in levy applied, in order to use to store music that you have lawfully purchased. Not a copy for your convenience, the original copy.

    Essentially - it seems that "the man" is complaining to be recompensed for his ability to sell the same thing multiple times; something that never should have been required in the first place.

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Why not do a media levy on wax cylinders?

      Then everyone is happy.

      There's a levy on media that xan only be used for copying audio, it earns nothing and costs nothing to administer.

  17. gerryg

    laches or whatever it's called in the UK.

    From a cached page on the Brennan website (URL now returns a 404)

    In 2006 the British Phonographic Institute or BPI said to a parliamentary select committee that they wanted to “make it unequivocally clear to the consumer that if they copy their CDs for their own private use in order to move the music from format to format we will not pursue them"

    So the effect of the passage of time on enforcement of rights will be of interest.

    There's a helpful discussion here

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Re: laches or whatever it's called in the UK.

      Interesting, that probably means that there is no case to answer, as the BPI have already stated that there is no loss.

      Wonder how long it will take for the lawyers to decide, and how much money (both artists and general taxpayers) will be wasted.

  18. localzuk

    The key is fair compensation

    The key in the EU ruling is about fair compensation. The UK has simply determined that zero compensation is fair, and I agree with them. The music industry is doing nothing to earn any compensation, so why should they be compensated?

  19. TheFinn

    I'm reminded of the bit in Men in Black

    "This thing's going to replace cds in a coupla years. I'll have to buy The White Album again."

    Practically infinite funds and influence, and the Recording Industry is still out of bounds.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I'm reminded of the bit in Men in Black

      I found my bought cassette copy of the album the other day. I could play the tapes on my music centre, but I rather prefer to transfer the music to mp3 for my own convenience.

      I'm pleased to see that the government have decided that this action is not to be considered a crime. I'm further pleased to see that they rightly consider there to be no need to compensate the publishers for my actions. Well done. For a change.

  20. Nunyabiznes

    piracy

    I've always been a pretty vehement opponent of piracy. If you want to have a copy of someone's artistic output, buy it. However, I didn't know about the EU's (-UK) stance on fair use (US resident). I can for the first time see the argument for "piracy".

    I paid you. John didn't. Go after John and leave me the f**k alone - I'm busy making a backup.

    1. DocJames
      Joke

      Re: piracy

      I paid you. John didn't. Go after John and leave me the f**k alone

      Paul McCartney, is that you?

  21. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Unhappy

    Why should I pay them anything?

    I don't buy / borrow / pinch any commercial music. I am a musician. I store and distribute my own work as I see fit, and at a price I decide - often zero.

    I also go to live performances where I pay at the door for exactly what I want to listen to and watch.

    I don't owe the 'other' lot as much as a brass farthing.

  22. veti Silver badge

    "Compensation"?

    Just wondering - how many of those musicians volunteered to pay extra money to the treasury, when the law was changed so that they could continue to profit from what they did 50 years ago?

    I get the principle: you did the work under a certain set of conditions, and now we're retroactively changing those conditions. But it's not the first time we've done it, and previously - very recently, in fact - you were benefitting from those changes. If you didn't raise the question of "compensation" then, why the hell should we listen to you now?

  23. johnrwalker

    "inefficient, bureaucratic and unfair, and disadvantage people who pay for content." simply the truth. The fact that the rest of the EU has this weird inefficient and unfair form of 'compensation' does not make it right.

  24. David Roberts Silver badge

    Italians pay Italians?

    I think that I just read that Italians collect a levy and give it to Italian artists.

    That doesn't seem equitable as there must be a percentage of music purchased in Italy which is not by Italian artists.

    So are UK artists getting their cut of all the money currently levied within the EU?

  25. truetalk

    Money for nothing

    I'm also with the UK government on this. It's a shame we're going to leave the EU but unfortunately the EU just don't get how disillusioned many people are with many of their decisions. This is just another example.

    1. heyrick Silver badge

      Re: Money for nothing

      As a Brit expat in Europe, I am pretty disillusioned by the current UK government.

      That's not to say "whoo-hoo EU", but, come on, we're comparing turds here, aren't we?

  26. JulieM Silver badge

    S.O.P for UK government

    This is standard operating procedure for the UK government:

    1. Wait for European Parliament to decide on something -- they determine the ends, not the means; member states are responsible for the actual details of how any objective is to be achieved, on an "all means to the same end are equally valid" basis.

    2. Use free rein on implementation details to implement something which is widely disliked.

    3. Brussels gets blame for UK Parliament's implementation.

  27. mrjohn

    I'm going to license the note middle "C", and the key of D minor.

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