back to article pushes £50,000 fine for online copyright infringement

The government has launched a consultation on plans to increase the maximum fine for traders in copyright-infringing material from £5,000 to £50,000 as part of a plan to protect "creative Britain". The change would bring the financial punishment for online copyright infringement for commercial purposes in line with the penalty …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Easy Pickings for our Rich friends!

    So once again we see Nu Labour making sure its Rich donors rights are protected whilst leaving gangsters who chase down and murder innocent people in cold blood to get just a few years inside (12 I do believe). Tough on crime my fucking arse, can we send Bliar to Georgia?

  2. Michael Reed


    Looking forward to the Slashdot take on this story. "Those bastard fascists attempt to take away our freedom to back up data again. Brain implant tracking devices can't be far behind!"

  3. Chris

    Too lenient

    Why stop with a financial penalty? I say copyright infringement should be punished with execution. How else can you teach them a lesson?

  4. Mike Kamermans

    Right direction, wrong idea

    Perhaps Andrew needs to sit and think a tiny bit longer. Crimes committed online and in then 'real' world by their very nature constitute different crimes, if only because different actions on the part of the parties involved...

    If the crime committed is the illegal sales of copyrighted material then merely selling byte patterns you don't own any rights to is different from selling those same byte patterns burnt to a physical media and handed over to your 'customer'. Suddenly the crime has gone from a single-party crime (internet users cannot be prosecuted for buying music from a webstore that seems legit. The fact that the store can be found online because no one has shut it down implies it's a legal storefront) to a two-party crime, where the receiver is an equally guilty party.

    As such, even though one could argue it's the same crime, the difference between online and real world means a difference between intentful deception with criminal intent, and simply criminal intent. Rationally (and the law tries to be at least rational, even when not fair in any way) the burden of the crime should rest with the seller in an online setting, rather than being spread over both parties as in the real world.

    If anything, their move to increase the fines is actually the right thing to do, but for entirely the wrong reasons.

  5. This post has been deleted by its author

  6. Alex
    Thumb Up

    this is why bt/phorm are stalling

    because if they can't find a work around to this then they could get the biggest repeated slap in litigation history, it'll be interesting if claims can then be back dated!

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Presumably this will mean the crims will go back to drug pushing and good old bank robbery then ?

  8. michael

    probley going to get flamed but

    I do not see much wrong with this "except the silly name" as long as

    1. for "commercial purposes" meanes selling it and the do not expand it to include "you downloaded it instead of buying it that is commercial you are nicked"

    2. they keep the fines for online - realworld the same

  9. Mark


    And the chances of any fine being levelled against a PLC on behalf of small or one man businesses remains about zero or less.

    Been there, done that.

  10. Mark

    Selective Gowers

    So they've taken the parts of the Gowers report that make filesharing a more serious offense and reject the ones that give back rights to the public not having pots of money.

    Which is nice.

    Burn in hell, you hypocrites.

  11. James Anderson
    Thumb Down

    What exactly are they protecting?

    The two watchable movies a year?

    The realitty show winners retreads of motown classics?

    All those best selling software packages produced in the UK like er well that local government accounting thingy?

    All those realty tv shows about how much your house insn't worth, or, the DIY shows where you can watch paint dry live on TV?

    One of the few money making "creative" industries left is computer games who generally have pretty good copyright protection in place, but, who are suffering because of the regressive UK tax system which expects smaller companies and talented freelancers to subsidise large corporations.

  12. Andy Worth

    Oh no!!!!

    Where will knock-off Nigel buy his DVD's from now, if they're going to scare all the dodgy traders away?

    Those copyright protection films make me laugh. I think it was best summed up by one of the comedians on "Mock the Week". He was referring to the "You wouldn't steal a bag...." trailer on the beginning of Hostel 2. He said something like, "I'm just about to watch a film about a bunch of women being tortured and the hell do they know that I wouldn't steal a bag?"

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Electoral suicide

    Gowers: "TRADING in copyright infringing material should have the same penalty online and in real world"

    UK.GOV: "TRADING or USING or MAKING copyright infringing materials should have the same penalty online and in real world"

    Slight difference is Gowers suggestion required money to change hands,'s wording sounds like it's the same except it doesn't require an exchange of money.

    The suggestion from would slap a 50k fine on minor infringment, even beneficial promotional infringement and given the lack of fair use, quoting copyrighted work etc. would also come under this. Uri Geller would have a field day suppressing his fakir videos while collecting 50k each time. Scientology would get rich without selling thetons to morons.

    NuLabour really don't want to be elected do they? They're absolutely determined not to be elected under any circumstances. Trying for a new low score in votes perhaps?

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Let BT be the first to be fined

    With the illegal test of the 121 media / Phorm system in 2006 / 2007. Should not BT be the first in court for copyright infringement of 1000's of Webmaster content.

    With the amount of copyright theft the fine may even be enough to financially bankrupt, what is a morally bankrupt organisation.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    how about ..

    How about a fine or at least some deterrent for loosing personal data to protect "private britain".

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Is that...

    Kent Ertegul I can hear twisting in the wind?

    I may have missed something here but doesn't this bring Phorm into a financial firing line (unless of course they actually get everyone's permission before scraping their pages....) as well as an HMP one?

    Mines the one with the anti Phorm mousetrap in the pocket.

  17. Anonymous Coward

    How about the new Orphan Works "thieves charters" from US.Gov?

    Isnt it amazing how two governments can have such wildly differing views on the same subject. Over here they're increasing the penalties for Copyright Infringement, over the in U.S. they're allowing their citizens to say "oh well I TRIED to find out who it was, honest guv'nor - I mean I even asked my mom and she didnt know, so it must be an Orphaned Work". Can I assume that, as a part time photographer, if any of my works pop up on an American website they'll extradite the little git concerned and sue him for the aforementioned 50grand and lock him up for 10 years? Oh no - sorry I forgot we dont do that to American Citizens, thats only if one of our own sysops breaks into an insecure American military database which should never have been within 200 yards of an Internet connection in the first place.

    This country is slowly but surely going to the dogs - lets start concentrating on the REAL issues. Taxes, fuel rates, homelessness and immigration controls to name just four. Not forgetting lawlessness which can be far more damaging - such as crimes against physical property and crimes against the person. It does strike me that this government currently has too much money and absolutely no clue what to do with it.

    The flame icon, because this country is going to hell !!!

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    pot kettle?

    Will this include BT,Phorm et al ?

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    creative britain?

    Creative US of A more like.

  20. Craig McLean
    Paris Hilton

    Well, it's not such a big thing.

    In fact, it seems pretty sensible. They are simply bringing the law for infringment of copyrights online for commercial gain into line with that in meatspace. Most importantly the ability for courts to jail the worst offenders for 10 years, rather than the current two-year maximum.

    In conjuction they raise the maximum fine to fifty grand so they don't need to lock up everyone who needs more than a £5000 slap on the wrist.

    Back on planet Earth though, how about these guys just take a stroll down Whitechapel high street on any day with a "Y" in it, and arrest the literally DOZENS of south-east-asians openly selling bent DVDs on the streets. The law is pointless if it is not enforced, for god's sake.

    Paris because she knows all about "video piracy" ;-)

  21. Mark

    re: probley going to get flamed but

    Nope. Only lightly grilled for your naivety.

    DMCA was supposed to protect art being copied and disseminated. It was used to prosecute someone who created a universal remote for a motorised garage door and for making ink cartridge refills.

    Terrorist Act was supposed to stop dangerous terrorists, not arrest and detain OAP's saying "Rubbish" at a party conference or to take and delete images taken by an MP outside the conference venue.

  22. Anonymous Coward

    @Electoral suicide

    "NuLabour really don't want to be elected do they?"

    What makes you think that the Conservatives are any different? From what I've read about their attitude to all things IT, they're just as bad, if not worse!

  23. muzchap

    @Craig McLean

    Whitechapel - heh - I too stroll the streets at lunch, if I'm not dodging chicken bones it's Dodgy DVD Daves (well mostly Asian to be fair)


  24. Chris Cheale

    that's ebuyer screwed then...

    ... or have they stopped copying data from other websites verbatim these days?

  25. Dave


    How could anyone object to them raising the fine on 'commercial' pirating - surely no-one can justify the activities of the gangs that duplicate CDs and DVDs purely for profit.

    Such a shame that the police end up using it to bankrupt 16 year old girls that can't understand the difference between Internet radio and P2P - not what we intended, but we'll bank the money anyway, thank-you very much.

  26. Luther Blissett

    Redefining the concept of law has been an ongoing nu laborious project - criminalizing where no crime has been committed. ASBOs are one example. Converting torts into crimes is another. Washing "justice" to mean "revenge and compensation". Law reforms - curtailing legal aid, legal representation fees. Abandonment of habeas corpus. General "human rights" override other considerations. Fining first, and prosecuting later.

    Is this because "happy people" is preferable to abstract "justice", or so that the nu insect overlards may safely graze?

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    not to mention google...

    ...who copy snippets of texts from billions of webpages in order to run a business that makes vast sums of money!!

  28. Elrond Hubbard

    Those annoying licences, eh?

    Oops! Looks like the UK arm of the "Christian Copyright Licensing International" (CCLI -, who are one of the "consultation partners" on the policy review document you provide links to are... breaching copyright + IP law themselves.

    The JavaScript DHTML menu they use is actually licensed to CCLI Australia, which is run from a different server. This isn't permitted by the authors (Milonic Systems)

    You can check the illegal license at

  29. Big Dave

    "Crimes committed in the online and physical world should not be subject to different sentences" Er?

    WTF? Like typing "YOU'RE AN IDIOT" in a chat room is the same as shouting "YOU'RE AN IDIOT" in someone's face in a supermarket? Or stealing a DVD box set from a shop is the same as downloading a bunch of MKV files from a friend's FTP server?

    Once again the UK Gov doesn't let reality or common sense get in the way of criminalising it's populous.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "for commercial purposes"

    the foamys seem to have missed these key words

  31. David Evans

    re:"for commercial purposes"

    They have indeed. Too busy downloading MP3s to actually read the article I reckon.

  32. Mark

    re: "for commercial purposes"

    the cliff notes for the DMCA, statutory damages in the US being increased and the equivalents of these laws here all had "commercial purposes" or "commercial infringement" in the notes.

    These terms did not get into the laws.

    Even if they did, one US court accepted the argument that getting a free copy back was commercial recompense.

  33. Anonymous Coward

    So, no more dissertation plagiarism then!

    So, is HMG covered by this proposal ?

    There is a small matter of using "the work of a research student without his permission" see detail from link below. Does this kind of thing count as copyright infringement?

    "The dossier had been largely plagiarised by the government’s Coalition Information Centre (CIC) from three articles by Ibrahim al-Marashi, a research associate at the Center for Nonproliferation Studies of the Monterey Institute of International Studies ...

    The government had committed several blunders here. The schoolboy-style plagiarism cast a veil of dishonesty over all the material issued in ‘dossier’ form. The co-option of the work of the research student without his permission was not only unethical but also potentially exposed members of his family, who still lived in Iraq, to real risk."

    So, £50k fine and ten years inside for the perpetrators of this flawed "research" [sorry, blunder!]

  34. kain preacher


    50grand and lock him up for 10 years? Oh no - sorry I forgot we dont do that to American Citizens, thats only if one of our own sysops breaks into an insecure American military database which should never have been within 200 yards of an Internet connection in the first place.

    You're an idiot. If was American on American soil they would nail him just as a hard . If you think any different you just hate America .

  35. Anonymous from Mars

    Limbo of the Lost

    So this means the guys who made Limbo of the Lost are now looking at a bill of £50,000,000,000,000, right?

  36. michael

    RE:So, no more dissertation plagiarism then!

    "So, is HMG covered by this proposal ?"

    now who is being neive the goverment never has to play by the rules everyboady else dose after they are the goverment they can do what ever they like

    (just to avoid the flames that was scarcasm in that sentance)

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    re: "for commercial purposes"

    Once the NuLab government destroyed the House of Lords, there was absolutely no check on their legislation.

    No real thought goes into the wording or obvious consequences of poor phraseology and so we have the laws being interpreted by the police and courts in entirely different manners to those originally envisaged.

    When I worked for local government back in MT days there was the new sound bite theory that became the norm. Where once wordy arguments would put both sides and all possible consequences leaving committees to argue out and decide the best policy, it all became reduced to one liners. The entire philosophy of government went that way. Any report that was not reduced to one liners was rejected until it conformed. The stunted people unable to see both sides of an argument suddenly came to the fore as best report writers and hence managers.

    Once spin was added we citizens never had a hope, we are governed by completely incapable people at national and local government level. I am just surprised it has taken this long to reach the recession.

    What will happen to this report is that the main keywords will be extracted and rearranged into a fantastic new piece of legislation destined to save UK plc. The arguments and qualifiers will be completely removed and yet once again we will get another crony law after the which the totally inept politicians will walk into industry jobs they are not qualified for at salaries which will enable them to pay for their own fuel and road tax.

  38. Richard Hodgson
    Thumb Down

    Wow, I could get fined less...

    ...for committing financial fraud, knocking over a petrol station, or mugging an old lady.

    Thanks for protecting us, Mr. Government!

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