Bad news internet pirates. The UK is contemplating drastically creating the utmost penalty for copyright infringement, ZDNet reports, with offenders getting as much as 10 years behind bars.
It’s essential to notice that this 10-year penalty will solely apply to “commercial” infringement. If you are simply downloading the odd album to listen to, then it will not have an effect on you. But pirates who run ad-supported websites on the internet, hosting copyright materials, could face far sterner penalties.
The UK’s Intellectual Property Office launched the proposal as a part of a session soliciting suggestions on the change, and is meant to “equalise” the penalties for bodily and online infringement. As it at present stands, somebody promoting fake DVDs could face a decade’s imprisonment, whereas an internet site operator — regardless of how widespread their website or prolific the infringement — has the utmost penalty capped at two years in jail.
In a press release, intellectual property minister Baroness Neville-Rolfe stated that “the government takes copyright crime extremely seriously – it hurts businesses, consumers and the wider economy both on and offline. Our creative industries are worth more than £7 billion to the UK economy and it’s important to protect them from online criminal enterprises. By toughening penalties for commercial-scale online offending we are offering greater protections to businesses and sending a clear message to deter criminals.”
It comes after an earlier evaluation referred to as an alignment of penalties for online and business infringement. Mike Weatherley, mental property advisor to the Prime Minister stated that “there is currently a disparity in sentencing between online and offline crime that needs to be harmonised. This sends out all the wrong messages. Until this is changed, online crime will be seen as less significant than traditional theft.”