Party like it's 1998: UK government bans ripping CDs — again

In 2014, Britain strode boldly into the late 20th century, finally legalising "private copying" — ripping CDs, taping LPs, recording TV shows, backing up your ebooks and games — but now it's thought better of the move.

The private copying rule drove the British record industry into a fury, and they took the government to court over it. A judge ordered the government to produce more evidence that allowing Britons to make private copies of the media they buy wouldn't harm the entertainment industry.

But rather than doing this, the British government has opted to withdraw the law, once again making presumptive criminals of virtually every computer user in the country.

In other words, killing the personal copying exception will bring the music industry very little financial benefit, while turning the UK public into scofflaws for making backup copies, format-shifting or uploading music to the cloud. And as The 1709 Blog points out, it's not as if the music industry is going to use the fact that the exception has been withdrawn to pursue anyone caught doing any of these things: "I think it is fair to say that they will, privately, continue with their old policy of not seeking to sue or prosecute anyone for personal format shifting. To do otherwise would undoubtedly alienate the buying public and strengthen the argument that the record labels are out of touch with what music fans want."

It's illegal to make private copies of music in the UK—again
[Glyn Moody/Ars Technica]