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Law finally catches up – Ripping CDs no longer illegal

Government to allow consumers to rip CDs and DVDs

You're no longer a criminal for making copies of discs you've bought

Over the last decade and more we’ve seen the world slowly transitioning from physical media to digital downloads, though we’re still a very long way off the last CD or DVD being sold. So it’s an overdue, but still welcome change, to find that the UK govenment, as of this week, have finally made it legal to rip content for your own use.

This means you can copy the content of a CD or DVD off the disc you bought and store it in another format, either a backup or for your own personal use. For example, you can now legally rip a CD and listen to the MP3 files you create on your smartphone, or you could rip a DVD and store the resulting video on a NAS, so you can easilt stream it around your home.

However, you must own the content yourself, you can’t make copies of other people’s content. And conversely you can’t give copies to other people, either physically or by sharing them online. The law does let you store copies in cloud storage, but you must be the only one who accesses those copies on that storage. 

The change in law isn’t going to make a huge deal of difference to most of us, making copies for backups and personal use has been rife for years. However it does finally place a dividing line between this kind of reasonable action and illegal filesharing.

Unfortunately, copy protection methods, which attempt to stop you making your own copies of discs are not illegal, so companies will still try and prevent this. Though with the support of the law, we should see software that evades such efforts become more commercial, more polished and easier to use.

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