Home taping is killing music (2005 remix)

The Irish Recorded Music Association (IRMA) have been briefing newspapers on the “legal minefields” new owners of iPods and other digital music players may face. From an article in this week’s Sunday Business Post:

Dick Doyle, the managing director of Irma, told The Sunday Business Post that it was “against the law’‘ to copy music onto iPods and other devices. “People should know that private copying from one medium to another is illegal,” he said.

“There is no private copying exemption in Irish law. You cannot burn downloaded music onto CDs. You cannot transfer it onto an iPod.”

Thousands of iPods were bought in the run-up to Christmas by people hoping to download music onto them from their CD collection or internet sites. But Irma’s Doyle said that anyone doing so would be breaking the law.

“People think that if there is no commercial gain that they can do it,” he said. “They can’t.”

While the article unhelpfully mixes up a number of related issues (illegal downloading, ripping from your own CDs, burning legally downloaded music to CD), it does appear that IRMA are keen to remind people just how few rights they enjoy in relation to sound recordings. It’s not clear whether they are planning to come after you for ripping your CD collection onto your iPod, but they do want you to know that Irish copyright law offers no exemption for this activity. Having read Chapter 6 of the Copyright and Related Rights Act, 2000, it appears they are technically correct. The only exemption I can find which might apply is that of “Fair dealing: research or private study“.

Is this a timely reminder that the law needs to be amended to take account of the entirely reasonable activity of transferring your own CD collection onto your own digital music player?

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