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November 20, 2015

After losing copyright fight at home, Gov’t focuses on EU

News: UK Government will not re-legalise private copying.

By Charlotte Henry

The UK government has stepped back from seeking to re-legalise private copying, after the 2014 law that made it legal was overturned by the High Court.

An spokesman for the Intellectual Property Office confirmed that the UK government’s attention would now turn to copyright in the EU instead.

The spokesperson said: "The Government is currently focussing its resources on the upcoming European copyright reforms, and does not intend to take further action on private copying at this time."

Music industry bodies had judicially reviewed the 2014 decision that made private copying legal, and the High Court has now ruled that the legislation is unlawful.

A government spokesman said after the ruling that it was "disappointed" with the result.

An article on law firm Pinsent Mason’s out-law website explains the current legal situation. It says: "EU copyright laws require EU countries that elect to introduce a private copying exception into national copyright laws to ensure that rights holders receive ‘fair compensation’ for that activity.

"However, the EU rules allow countries introducing such an exception into national laws to do so without an associated mechanism for compensating rights holders where only minimal harm to rights holders would arise as a result of private copying activities."

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The government has previously said that it did not believe that rights holders would be adversely affected by the change, but was criticised in court for not showing enough evidence for this.

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