Backing up Your Computer is Illegal in the UK

Law is a confusing thing, especially when it’s written by a government who seem to lack common sense.

Last year UK Copyright Law was clarified and rewritten, allowing for burning CDs into programs like iTunes, something that most already thought was legal. Recent legislation, however, has reversed that ruling.

TorrentFreak sought a comment on the changes:

“It is now unlawful to make private copies of copyright works you own, without permission from the copyright holder – this includes format shifting from one medium to another,” a spokesperson informed us.

iTunes is illegal. But it goes further.

“…it includes creating back-ups without permission from the copyright holder as this necessarily involves an act of copying,” we were informed by the Government spokesperson.

In reality, it is unlikely that people with backups of their computers, and thus their music libraries, will be prosecuted, and neither will those burning CDs on their home computers. Nevertheless these laws are a worry as there remains potential for unreasonable lawsuits to arise and people who don’t know any better avoiding doing what is imperative to using a computer safely and efficiently: backing up.

Indeed, streaming services from Spotify to Apple Music to YouTube are all replacing our need for locally stored music, so as long as the UK’s confused legislators don’t try to stifle competition in that space, perhaps we shouldn’t be making too much of a fuss of their poor wording.