back to article UK.gov rolls out 10 years' chokey for industrial scale copyright pirates

As it promised in the Queen’s Speech – and as first revealed here – legislation will extend the maximum penalty for industrial scale online copyright infringement from two to 10 years. This is in the hope that criminal copyright cases are actually brought under copyright law. Because the maximum sentence is currently only two …

  1. Dan 55 Silver badge
    Stop

    "Torrent release groups are the target - not teenagers"

    We don't know that until it gets to court.

    The new 2A doesn't really offer any protection for the casual infringer. 2A) a) and b) ii) can describe casual infringing perfectly.

    The IPO can say what it likes, but if it ain't part of the act it doesn't count for anything.

    1. Justicesays

      Re: "Torrent release groups are the target - not teenagers"

      "intended" here used in the same way that RIPA was "intended" for use against serious and organized crime, and terrorists?

      1. Danny 14 Silver badge

        Re: "Torrent release groups are the target - not teenagers"

        wasn't there a spate of anti terrorism acts being used for absolutely anything? I seem to recall photographers getting into hot water a few times.

        1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

          And let us not forget that journalist that got treated with the terror act for having talked with Snowden.

          You can tell me what you want about the intent of the law, what I want to know is what is the intent of the interrogator ?

        2. FuzzyWuzzys

          Re: "Torrent release groups are the target - not teenagers"

          "seem to recall photographers getting into hot water a few times."

          Yes indeed, there were some very high profile cases which ended in Plod getting a slap on the wrist for being bloody stupid and being forced to pay the photographer's legal fees and damages. This more or less put paid to the easy targets that some coppers saw photographers to be. There is still a little bit of grief occasionally with Plod still not getting the message that taking photos in public is not a crime but for the most part the stupidity of dragging some poor sod with a fetish for shooting pics of city architecture through the courts on trumped charges has abaited.

        3. Trigonoceps occipitalis Silver badge

          Re: "Torrent release groups are the target - not teenagers"

          Don't forget Gordon Brown and the Icelandic banks.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Coat

            Re: "Torrent release groups are the target - not teenagers"

            I have forgotten about Gordon Brown and the Icelandic banks, and much else I'm afraid

  2. Duncan Macdonald Silver badge
    Flame

    How big was the bribe ?

    The existing rule requires that the infringement causes harm to the copyright holder - the new rule changes that to causing a risk of harm (the actual harm does NOT need to be proven).

    As anyone who downloads a file using a torrent makes the file available to the public while downloading, this revised clause COULD be used to persecute individual downloaders.

    Once this law takes effect, expect to see a large increase in the number of threatening letters from lawyers demanding huge penalties to avoid prosecution.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: How big was the bribe ?

      Yes, that.

      "or will expose the owner of the copyright to a risk of loss."

      So, no actual loss has to occur and certainly doesn't have to be proven. That sounds like a very steep slope the morning after rain and a cold snap.

      Like most legislation, it's been left very open ended and so the courts have to decide what was in the minds of the authors (not much, apparently)

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Torrent release groups are the target - not teenagers

    says who?

  4. theOtherJT

    Some studies have shown...

    ...that really popular torrents actually drive UP sales of the shared work because they cause it to reach an audience that wouldn't otherwise have known about it - rather like that spike in DVD sales that 'Python got when they put all their material on youtube. That being the case this wording:

    (ii) knows or has reason to believe that communicating the work to the public will cause loss to the owner of the copyright, or will expose the owner of the copyright to a risk of loss.

    becomes rather an interesting defence. "I don't know or have reason to believe that this will cause loss to the owner, as I chose to believe the aforementioned study that it actually does the opposite" I'm not sure what a court would make of that, but I'm sure some lawyers will enjoy finding out.

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  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Crazy idea

    Maybe when introducing new laws there could be some kind of auto matic excel sheet that makes a graph of reletive crime sentences... Everyone likes excel right?

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Crazy idea

      Shirley shum mishtake. I think it's spelled PowerPoint!

  8. Justicesays

    Private Prosecutions

    "Criminal cases are hugely expensive, and require the CPS to be convinced there's a crime and a good likelihood of a successful prosecution"

    Is it the IPO or the reporter that is overlooking that the UK (Or at least England and Wales in practice ) still allow private prosecutions for criminal cases, so the CPS doesn't have to be involved....

  9. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

    "Opportunistic lawyers ... "

    Pleonasm alert!

  10. FuzzyWuzzys

    When you get the likes of the MPAA dragging some poor granny ( who doesn't even have broadband! ) through the courts based purely on an IP being used to torrent a single movie, I can't say I have much confidence in these sorts of laws to do anything but get innocent people blamed. The "pros" know the game and for the most part, they're careful with their supply chains preferring to "offload the uploading" to sub-ordinates who simply want to be part of what those of us old enough to remember, used to be called a "warez crew".

  11. Oengus
    Stop

    Useful weapon for prosecutors

    It doesn't matter what the intent of the law is. Most laws are written with the best of intentions. The problem is that if a law can be abused at some point it will be abused.

  12. Sirius Lee

    I get that you are against freetards

    Andrew, I get that you are against 'copyfighters' but what in your experience has lead you to the point that you can see no problem in the clauses you identify in the article. As someone else pointed out, the IPO may claim in a separate document that targeting teens is not the intention but it will be the effect, The copyright holder support groups will make sure of that. It doesn't matter that it costs a lot of money to mount a prosecution, whatever the amount it will be tiny compared to the cost of producing all the content.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Meh

    Copy rights and wrongs

    And here was me thinking oh they have actually decided to persrcute the crims who do hurt copyrightholders and not the average idiot who couldn't if they tried, from the comments that was being a bit overoptimistic - more money for the legal-beagles then

  14. teebie

    The IPO explained in May that it was intended to deter “egregious” (e.g. industrial scale) infringers, not teenagers in their bedrooms.

    "It is not the intention of this law..." all over again

    Much as copyfighters would like to think that imperils the guy in the shed at home, that just isn't financially justifiable.

    Jammie Thomas?

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