Music Industry Wins High Court Copyright Case Against Government
19 Jun 2015
19/06/15 London, UK: The High Court has ruled against the UK Government in a Judicial Review case brought by the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors (BASCA), the Musicians’ Union (MU) and UK Music. These three bodies challenged Government’s decision to introduce a private copying exception into UK copyright law, arguing that it was unlawful because it failed to provide fair compensation to rightholders.
Keith Harris, OBE and MusicTank Chair:
“The sensible thing for the government to do now would be to participate in the debate about the best charging mechanism for private copying and what might be an appropriate fee. Our forthcoming MusicTank debate will be a good stimulus for that discussion.”
BASCA, MU and UK Music had welcomed a change to UK law which enabled consumers to copy their legally-acquired music for personal and private use. However, ahead of the introduction of the private copying exception, they consistently alerted Government to the fact that in such circumstances significant harm is caused to rightholders and European law requires fair compensation to be paid. The High Court agreed with the music industry and found that Government’s decision not to provide fair compensation was based on wholly inadequate evidence – and that Government’s decision was therefore unlawful.
The High Court’s ruling means that Government will now have to reconsider its position. BASCA, MU and UK Music remain open to meaningful talks to resolve this issue.
Commenting on the outcome of the case, Jo Dipple, CEO UK Music said:
“The High Court agreed with us that Government acted unlawfully. It is vitally important that fairness for songwriters, composers and performers is written into the law. My members’ music defines this country. It is only right that Government gives us the standard of legislation our music deserves. We want to work with Government so this can be achieved.”
“The British music industry is worth £3.8bn GVA and generates £3.1bn in tourist spend. Changes to copyright law that affect such a vital part of the creative economy, which supports one in twelve jobs, must only be introduced if there is a robust evidential basis for doing so.”
NOTES AND BACKGROUND
The UK Government introduced measures in October 2014 to change the law to enable people to copy copyright material they have lawfully acquired for their own private and personal use, under the ‘Copyright and Rights in Performances (Personal Copies for Private Use) Regulations 2014’.
The EU Copyright Directive permits Member States such as the UK to introduce such exceptions into domestic law, but on the condition that rightholders receive fair compensation where more than minimal harm is suffered.
DON’T MISS LONDON JUNE 25 DEBATE: PRIVATE COPY EXEMPTION: RIGHTSHOLDERS AND REMUNERATION
Hot on the heels of this recent High Court ruling in favour of the music industry, this event draws a stellar panel of experts in copyright and alternative compensation systems from industry and academia. Private Copy Exemption: Rightsholders And Remuneration will consider how a levy system might effectively compensate rightsholders for private copying, and takes its lead from a paper written by MA Music Business Management post-graduate, Samuel Rudy. This debate focuses not on whether by default, rightsholders should be compensated from lawful private copying, but addresses the issue of charging those who profit absolutely from facilitating the copying of music – digital storage and device manufacturers.