The UK Government has announced a new proposal to increase the maximum jail term for online piracy from two to ten years. According to the authorities longer prison sentences are needed to deter large-scale and commercial copyright infringement on the Internet.
In an effort to deter online piracy the UK Government is proposing to increase the maximum prison sentence for online copyright infringement to ten years.
The current maximum of two years is not enough to deter infringers, lawmakers argue.
The new proposal follows a suggestion put forward in a study commissioned by the UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO) earlier this year.
The study concluded that the criminal sanctions for copyright infringement available under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (CDPA 1988) could be amended to bring them into line with related offenses, such as counterfeiting.
According to the Government it’s important that online piracy is seen as “no less serious” than offline infringements, and the increased sentence will put both offenses on par.
“By toughening penalties for commercial-scale online offending we are offering greater protections to businesses and sending a clear message to deter criminals,” says Intellectual Property Minister Baroness Neville-Rolfe.
The proposal is being welcomed by copyright holders who have lobbied extensively to increase penalties for online piracy.