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Copyright: parliament’s will overturned for profits

Posted by on July 18, 2015.

I won’t buy music anymore. I’ll listen to the radio and watch performances on television; but I won’t buy the CDs. I decline to put money into a music industry that tells me if I wish to listen to their CDs in my home I must pay them, say, £10 (cost of a blank CD, say £0.30); and then another £10 if I want to listen to it on my laptop or MP3 player, and then another £10 if I want to have a version for the antiquated tape system in my car. This is copyright madness.

The British government (for once, just for once, trying to do the right thing) brought in a new law last year that allowed users to make copies of CDs, MP3s, DVDs, Blu-rays and e-books, and allowed storage both locally or in the cloud. That was a very good idea.

courtrulingBut the music industry objected, claiming that its profits are more important than the wishes of the elected government of a country; and challenged this law in court. And the High Court, in a judgment dated 3rd July 2015 and published 17th July, struck down the government’s good law in no uncertain terms.

(Incidentally, such objections to the will of parliaments will only get worse once TPP, TTIP and TISA come into force. Laws that affect the profits of foreign companies will be thrown out on the say of lawyers, not judges, nor the elected representatives of the people, but the same lawyers that are elsewhere employed by those very same foreign companies.)

In this month’s High Court judgment Mr Justice Green ruled,

It is clear that I should quash the Regulations. I make clear that this covers the entirety of the Regulations and all of the rights and obligations contained therein. The Judgment concerned the personal and private use exception in section 28B; but the Regulations for example also introduce analogous exceptions for performing rights in Schedule 2 paragraph 1B CDPA 1988. The Regulations are thus quashed.
Mr Justice Green

I refuse to blame the judge. It is not his job to do the will of the people. It is his job to interpret the laws of the land. It is the job of parliament to do the will of the people (it is – honest – that’s their job). The fact that they do balls-up after balls-up is not the judges’ fault.

In fact, you even have to wonder if parliament’s lawyers knew that this would happen. Think about that. The people ‘believe’ that parliament has their best interests at heart while no long term harm is done to the government’s friends and lobbyists.

We’ll know soon enough of course. When the highest court in Europe declared the government’s data retention practices to be unconstitutional and therefore illegal, within weeks it passed a new law (DRIP – see comments here) making its previous illegality newly legal. I wonder if it will do the same over copying purchased copyright media for personal use?


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Submitted in: Expert Views, Kevin Townsend's opinions, News, News_legal, News_politics | Tags: