Online Pirates to Face 10 Years Prison in UK

Online Pirates to Face 10 Years Prison in UK

The UK Government has unveiled its new Digital Economy Bill [PDF] in Parliament which features a revision to current laws regarding online copyright infringement. Under the new bill, online pirates could face up to ten years in prison, a substantial increase from the two years of previous legislation.

The increase of the maximum prison sentence to ten years was at the recommendation of the UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO), which considered the current maximum of two years as too lenient to be an effective deterrent.

The key revisions in the Digital Economy Bill amend parts of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, as below:

(3) In subsection (4 A)(b) of that section, for “two” substitute “ten”.

(4) In section 198 (criminal liability for making, dealing with or using illicit recordings), for subsection (1 A) substitute –

“(1 A) A person (“P”) who infringes a performer’s making available right in a recording commits an offence if P –

(a) knows or has reason to believe that P is infringing the right, and

(b) either –

(i) intends to make a gain for P or another person, or

(ii) knows or has reason to believe that infringing the right will cause loss to the owner of the right, or expose the owner of the right to risk of loss.

While the new legislation, if passed, is unlikely to see casual torrenters face up to ten years in prison, organised groups that pirate and upload copyrighted materials could be harshly punished.

Image courtesy of BBC.

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