The Design and Artists Copyright Society (DACS) says it welcomes news that the High Court has quashed the UK’s private copying exception to copyright.

Introduced into UK law in October 2014 as part of a number of changes to copyright, the exception allowed individuals to create personal copies of copyright-protected materials for their own private use, without needing permission or a licence from the copyright owner.

DACS consulted artists about the changes in 2012, highlighting its concerns to government in 2013 that the private copying exception had been introduced primarily to deal with the practice of copying music and film into different formats. DACS said it was concerned that its potential impact on artists had not been considered and that the exception effectively allowed for the creation of items featuring copyright-protected artworks, such as posters, postcards and t-shirts, and stressed in its response that fair compensation be provided for artists.

Following the introduction of the exception into law, The UK music industry sought legal action against the Government arguing that the Government’s failure to provide for fair compensation of copyright owners was a breach of European law.

Unlawfully brought about

At the hearing in July 2015, the judge decided that the private copying exception should be quashed as a natural consequence of finding that it had been unlawfully brought about, and that he regulations that implemented the private copying exception should have no effect going forward

Announcing the news, DACS said: “While we support the modernisation of copyright for the digital age, this should not be done at the expense of the artist. The decision to overturn the exception is therefore welcome news for artists. The Government will now be reconsidering its position and will decide if it will reintroduce the exception.

“We will be monitoring the Government’s policy making process and will inform our members of any further decisions affecting their copyright.”

This is an abridged version of a story originally published by DACS: High Court overturns UK private copying exception to copyright

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