Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Piracy Crime The Courts United Kingdom

UK Government Proposes 10-Year Copyright Infringement Jail Term 274

An anonymous reader writes: According to a BBC report, the UK government is proposing increasing the jail term for copyright infringement from the current two years to 10 years, which they say would "act as a significant deterrent." "The proposed measures are mainly targeted at the distributors of pirated content — the people creating copies of movies, sometimes before release, and uploading them to be downloaded by thousands upon thousands." Another reader notes a related court ruling in the UK which has once again made it illegal to rip lawfully-acquired CDs and DVDs for personal use. "A judge ruled that the government was wrong legally when it decided not to introduce a compensation scheme for songwriters, musicians, and other rights holders who face losses as a result of their copyright being infringed."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

UK Government Proposes 10-Year Copyright Infringement Jail Term

Comments Filter:
  • This is outrageous (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 18, 2015 @01:00PM (#50135845)

    These jail terms are higher than an armed assault theft, or murder...
    All this indicates excessive lobbying or even corruption.

    • by Harold Halloway ( 1047486 ) on Saturday July 18, 2015 @01:07PM (#50135883)

      No, murder still attracts a life sentence. That sentence will be at least 10 years before parole is even considered. But your point is valid: this victimless crime attracts a potentially higher prison sentence than many violent crimes.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 18, 2015 @01:19PM (#50135951)

        Crown Prosecution Service sentencing guidelines [cps.gov.uk] give 10 years as the starting point for raping a child, 8 for raping a teenager. These are, of course, the starting points for rapists "who do not meet the dangerous offender criteria."

        So, copyright infringement is now basically the same as child rape. I wonder if copyright infringers fit the description of a "dangerous offender."

        • So, copyright infringement is now basically the same as child rape. I wonder if copyright infringers fit the description of a "dangerous offender."

          Ten years is the proposed _maximum_ for copyright infringement. For most crimes, there is a huge range of how bad the crime is. For example, growing pot: You might have a flower pot full, or you might have a 100 acre farm. Surely the maximum sentence should be fitting for the one using a huge farm to grow drugs. With copyright infringement, you might make a copy of a CD for a relative, or you might run a major operation with multi-million dollar revenue. You want a maximum sentence that fits the multi-milli

          • by Anonymous Coward

            You want a maximum sentence that fits the multi-million dollar operation.

            No, I don't want that. If someone's actually making millions of dollars off copyright infringement, it's a sign that there's high demand for his services as opposed to what the music industry is providing. It's a sign that copyright laws are hindering the market from squeezing out bad service. In that case, we're just punishing a better entrepreneur.

            Instead of jacking up the penalties on copyright to further protect bad business mo

          • For example, growing pot: You might have a flower pot full, or you might have a 100 acre farm. Surely the maximum sentence should be fitting for the one using a huge farm to grow drugs.

            You imply that the 100 acre farmer would get the maximum penalty, and the flower pot full would not (presumably, the minimum). In reality, the 100 acre farmer would go free for flipping on his buyer, the flower pot guy who insists on a jury trial, and the flower pot guy willing to deal gets the minimum sentence.

            You want a m

        • Just a thought (Score:5, Interesting)

          by fyngyrz ( 762201 ) on Saturday July 18, 2015 @03:06PM (#50136441) Homepage Journal

          Perhaps the government -- ours, the UK, whomever -- ought not to consider over-punishing someone for a minor infraction in order to deter others.

          It seems to me that this is the real flaw in the entire mindset at work here.

          Does society want to deter people from breaking a law? Sure. And yes, I agree, individuals violating copyright on a "I copied this work to use for myself" level is antisocial (but less so than spitting on the sidewalk is -- IOW, "meh.")

          But do we want impose draconian and absurd punishments on peaceful and almost entirely harmless people?

          Fuck. No. Because that's obviously unfair and unreasonable -- and stupid.

          I'll go even further: A reasonable punishment is making the infringer pay twice what it would have cost them to pursue the legitimate path. For instance, you copy a CD that retails for $19.95, you get fined $39.40 which goes to the injured party, plus court and enforcement costs. Etc. And then you get after enforcing it, so that copyright violation becomes a no-win situation. So it would hurt, but it wouldn't generally wreck your life, your family's life, and screw up anything else that depends on your input, presence, or support.

          People do this not because they are evil, but because (a) they are cheap, (b) the abstraction that someone actually put some valuable time into the work is too abstract for them to grasp, and (c) it is actually easier than purchasing the work.

          We can't fix (c) because technology. It's only getting easier. I suspect it's likely to continue doing so, too.

          We can't fix (b) because people grasp their rationalizations like a life ring in a storm-tossed ocean regardless of how close the shore is. Even really smart people. I refer, of course, to the idiotic but seductive "information wants to be free" meme. Information is held in people's heads unless they want to take it out of their heads, and a tangible reward is an excellent motivator to encourage them to do so. Doesn't mean you can't make free stuff; it just means that we'd like to tangibly reward those who want to do these kinds of things as a life pursuit -- or even you, doing it as a hobby, if you'd like to exchange your work for some reward of a more factual nature than "makes me feel good" and/or the cliched and mostly worthless "5 minutes of fame", if that's how you'd like to roll.

          But we can sure as hell leverage (a) reasonably -- which is a damn sight better than trying to scare people by the equivalent of beating the shite out of someone for simply looking at you wrong.

          Fucking lawyers and bureaucrats. There are days when I think they all need to be made to go home. System needs a reset.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 18, 2015 @01:24PM (#50135981)

        This victimless crime undermines the asset value of intellectual property. While it is true that "intellectual property" is entirely imaginary, the fact is that many wealthy people have a significant investment in it. Its free distribution reduces its value (based on how they appraise it), and so they see it as a threat to their wealth.

        Throw aside all concepts of justice, and the issue becomes perfectly clear. They see copyright law as a means of protecting their wealth. Further, this is a greater threat to them than muggings, assault, etc., because they already have effective means of protecting themselves against those threats. So, they are focusing their political power on the task of protecting their wealth against what they see as its greatest threat: you.

        It doesn't matter that physical violence causes more harm to an actual person...that is a problem largely for poor people so they don't care about it. But you taking their wealth away is something they absolutely will not tolerate....and unlike you, they have the political clout to do something about it.

        Your only option is to overwhelm them with numbers (politically speaking). You either accomplish this, or you live under their laws.

        • by TWX ( 665546 ) on Saturday July 18, 2015 @02:26PM (#50136271)
          Copyright and other intellectual-property laws have always been about protecting the income of the content owner. In the short-term I actually agree with them; I don't think that it's wrong for those who create content to make a living off of that content as they produce it. My biggest complaint is the trend of indefinite copyright where works that have influenced culture aren't eventually released into the public domain, as it gives too much a degree of control over our very culture to powerful entities that own the works that have helped define that culture, further empowering them. It'd be one thing is most copyright was held by the people that created content and if that copyright ended some set duration after their deaths, but when media companies can hold copyright for the better part of a hundred years that's just getting ridiculous.

          The other side of it is the challenge in calculating how much financial damage is done to a copyright holder when unlicensed copies of their work are distributed and 'consumed'. Case in point, older movies that are available on the Internet that weren't popular releases when they initially debuted. If someone watches Spaced Invaders for free simply because they have access to it, who wouldn't have paid any amount of money to watch it however small, is Disney/Touchstone actually out anything? If the viewer would never have watched it to begin with then it's hard to say that Disney is financially hurt by someone watching it without paying for it.
          • Actually I have a deeper issue with the way current copyright works. If people pay merely for right to make a copy of particular work and peruse it then it serves basically as money printing machine since it doesn't require any effort for copyright holder to grant such a permission. The fact that making original work requires effort is irrelevant in this case because copyright license and creative efforts are unrelated and there's no economic mechanism to ensure that copyright holder will stop taking money
          • by Frobnicator ( 565869 ) on Saturday July 18, 2015 @02:58PM (#50136395) Journal

            The other side of it is the challenge in calculating how much financial damage is done to a copyright holder when unlicensed copies of their work are distributed and 'consumed'.

            There are still other "other sides" of it. Most posters are focusing on when individuals infringe on corporate productions. Big groups steal images from small-time photographers and artists all the time, usually without consequence.

            Clickbait sites are notorious for stealing images and are among the worst infringers. Does this mean when an image goes viral and is used in a corporate blog, or when a photo gets used in a clickbait site like buzzfeed, the government prosecutors will be going after the corporations for criminal copyright infringement?

            Even mostly-reputable groups like Forbes is notorious for lifting images online without permission. Images from Wikipedia get cited as "From Wikipedia" without regard to the license or the actual photographer. Images get lifted from personal web sites with or without attribution, but rarely with permission. Will the editors at Forbes UK office be imprisoned for their copyright infringements?

            Yeah, didn't think so.

            Unless these same laws are used to prosecute corporations and corporate officers when they also commit the crimes, it's just a tool to beat down the common citizen.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          But you taking their wealth away is something they absolutely will not tolerate....and unlike you, they have the political clout to do something about it.

          Your only option is to overwhelm them with numbers (politically speaking). You either accomplish this, or you live under their laws.

          No, there actually is another option. Stop giving them any more wealth. Don't buy the CDs. Don't buy the DVDs or the Blu-Rays. Don't pay for streaming music or streaming video. Don't go to their movies, and don't go to their concerts.

          Don't misunderstand me -- I'm not saying steal any of this stuff as opposed to buying it. Neither steal it nor buy it. Go without. Do. Not. Participate. Give them neither the pounds sterling from your pocket nor the attention of your ears or eyeballs that they can sell to ad

          • Hi, creative person here. Why would you want to live like that?
            • It's called a boycott. We don't want to live like that, but it may be worth it for a while, to break a monopoly.

              There are other options. We, the people, could rise up and demand that these laws be changed. That option is not likely while an easier option exists: we'll just ignore you and copy and share what we want. You can't stop it. You can cry about reality not working the way you want, giving only you and fellow artists and Big Media owners the ability to change a thing from not scarce to scarce a

          • "Stop giving them any more wealth. Don't buy..."

            This is happening in spades. Numbers are in constant decline.

            Media companies try to paint this decline as proof that there is mass piracy going on, rather than admit they're not producing prodict that people want to buy - and the US + UK governments are falling for it, passing laws to prop up these companies, in the same way they tried to prop up their car industries rather than admit they were simply not producing what customers wanted.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        this victimless crime attracts a potentially higher prison sentence than many violent crimes

        These penalties are the ones aimed at criminal copyright infringement. That typically means large-scale, commercial activity where someone really is completely ripping off all the people who actually worked to produce the movie or game or album just to make a quick buck for themselves.

        If you think that is a victimless crime, I invite you to carry on working at your normal job for the next year, but sign all the pay cheques over to some random criminal who did literally nothing to deserve that money. Oh, and

        • by spire3661 ( 1038968 ) on Saturday July 18, 2015 @02:04PM (#50136141) Journal
          Imaginary property does not deserve this level of protection. I dont care what kind of infringement is going on, or how much money is lost. 10 years for 'stealing' essentially THOUGHTS is insane. The point of Copyright is to encourage works and it think its quite clear by now that works do not need this kind of protection, humans will produce them no matter what. Throwing people in jail over it is absolutely repugnant. I dont think we can truly call it an Information Age until we seriously hamstring copyright, not make it stronger.
          • Imaginary property does not deserve this level of protection.

            All property is imaginary. The natural state of things is that if you have something I want, it is mine if I have a more powerful weapon or a bigger gang.

            The idea of having a civilised society with laws and recognised rights and due process is to try to avoid descending to the ethical level of a caveman.

            10 years for 'stealing' essentially THOUGHTS is insane.

            The people these laws are aimed at aren't "stealing thoughts". They are directly defrauding the rightsholders, and ultimately everyone who works in creative industries and earns their living contributing to

            • by AK Marc ( 707885 )

              All property is imaginary.

              So the shoes I'm wearing aren't there? Or are you saying that ownership is imaginary? Because that's unrelated to the question of the thing being claimed as owned being imaginary.

              The people these laws are aimed at aren't "stealing thoughts". They are directly defrauding the rightsholders, and ultimately everyone who works in creative industries and earns their living contributing to these works, of staggering amounts of money.

              Either there are no laws against "fraud" in the UK, or this isn't about defrauding anyone. In a sane world, the person making copies, 1 or 10,000, would get a fine of no more than 3x retail value of the loss (that's the US standard for punitive damages), and if they were making a separate transaction of selling the song for pr

              • by Anonymous Brave Guy ( 457657 ) on Saturday July 18, 2015 @03:17PM (#50136507)

                Or are you saying that ownership is imaginary?

                Yes. Ownership of anything -- a physical object, a certain exclusive right, a theoretical amount of money that lives as bits and bytes in a database somewhere -- is just a concept we have invented to help society function, like any other legal or financial instrument. We might all agree (or at least most of us would, I hope) that physical ownership is a useful concept and we should respect it and not commit theft, but ultimately that is just a social norm, enforced through other social norms such as laws and courts.

                So those that sell copies can go to jail for fraud, and those that copy with no financial motive could be fined for more than any "loss" they caused the copyright holder.

                Right, and that is broadly what the UK legal framework does. Non-commercial infringement is basically a civil offence, punishable in a civil court through damages, and under UK law those would normally be actual damages, not the dramatically overstated hypothetical or punitive sort. But professional copyright infringement, where you're actively ripping off works for substantial profit, can be a criminal matter, punishable in criminal courts with fines and jail time. And that's what we're talking about here.

                So taking $1 from someone and giving them back $0.50 doesn't harm them in any way?

                It harms them to about the same extent as ripping a copyright work with a market of two paying customers so that you sell one copy to a paying customer for your own profit and the legitimate rightsholder then sells only one copy to the second paying customer.

                Copyright is a reasonable economic instrument, in my opinion, at least until we find a better model for incentivising creative work that does at least as good a job. Likewise, infrigement of copyright causes economic damage, more like fraud or misleading advertising than theft of some physical item. But the claim that professional-scale copyright infringement causes no actual damage at all is about as likely as the claim by the other side that every illegal copy represents a lost sale. Those professional infringers are sure making a lot of money doing something that supposedly doesn't cost the legitimate rightsholder anything.

                • by AK Marc ( 707885 )

                  Ownership of anything is just a concept we have invented

                  Which is unrelated to your initial claim that "All property is imaginary." My shoes are property, and aren't imaginary, thus your opinion is directly contradicted by reality.

                  Non-commercial infringement [...] is basically a civil offence. But professional copyright infringement [...] can be a criminal matter,

                  That's unrelated to TFA. "the people creating copies of movies, sometimes before release, and uploading them to be downloaded by thousands upon thousands." So a single user "downloading" a single movie with bittorrent could fall under the 10-year rule. That they don't is your opinion at the moment. It isn't coded into law, or other

                  • So a single user "downloading" a single movie with bittorrent could fall under the 10-year rule. That they don't is your opinion at the moment. It isn't coded into law, or otherwise protected.

                    Well, that rule doesn't exist yet, so none of us know that.

                    However, assuming it is a direct extension of what currently attracts a maximum two-year sentence, that is still quite a stretch. The specific circumstances under which copyright becomes a criminal matter are in fact enumerated in statute law. Here [legislation.gov.uk] they are [legislation.gov.uk].

                    Notice that the recurring theme in almost all of the specifics is something along the lines of knowing or having reason to believe that the copy is infringing. The CPS guidance specifically notes [cps.gov.uk]

                • Yes. Ownership of anything -- a physical object, a certain exclusive right, a theoretical amount of money that lives as bits and bytes in a database somewhere -- is just a concept we have invented to help society function, like any other legal or financial instrument. We might all agree (or at least most of us would, I hope) that physical ownership is a useful concept and we should respect it and not commit theft, but ultimately that is just a social norm, enforced through other social norms such as laws and courts.

                  That's true. The problem you face, however, is that the social norm concerning creative works appears to be that it's perfectly okay for ordinary people to do things that constitute copyright infringement, at least if they aren't doing so for direct financial gain (i.e. if they aren't selling the copies). If the law were to reflect this social norm, copyright would not be as interesting an issue as it has become in the past 30-40 years. Instead we see copyright holders suing individuals, and trying to contr

            • by jedidiah ( 1196 )

              > All property is imaginary.

              No it isn't. Real and personal property can exist in a fixed place and time. It can only be owned, used, or possessed by one person at a time and deprivation of it is a real rather than theoretical harm.

              It's also often quite easy to establish ownership of a physical thing where there is no such easy method for "ideas" or copies "art".

              Furthermore, content cartels are unable or unwilling to assign any kind of real damages to any incident of infringement. This is further muddled

              • Real and personal property can exist in a fixed place and time.

                No. A real, physical item can exist in a fixed place and time, but it is only the law that makes it any particular person's property.

                It can only be owned, used, or possessed by one person at a time

                No, no, and no. Shared ownership is possible. Many things can be used by multiple people at once. Many things are in the possession of multiple people at once.

                and deprivation of it is a real rather than theoretical harm.

                So if I went into your home while you were on holiday for two weeks, borrowed a book that belongs to you to read it for a week, returned it in its original condition, and then left again causing no damage, what real harm

          • by mark-t ( 151149 )
            You do of course realize that the exact same arguments could be made to apply to things like counterfeiting. Money is, after all, imaginary property in a sense, since it typically has a perceived value associated with it that is not connected with any material value the raw materials the currency is manufactured from may possess.
            • by jedidiah ( 1196 )

              The harm you do to someone you pass a fake bill to is not imaginary. It's actually trivially easy to assess on a pure tort basis.

              There are some crimes that society decides should come with medieval and draconian penalties. The idea that even commercial copyright infringement belongs in that category is dubious at best.

              • by mark-t ( 151149 )
                Copyright is just an extension of the exclusivity that creators had over a work that creators enjoyed in the days before the printing press. Copying was hard enough and error prone that natural checks and balances tended to discourage most (but admittedly not all) from engaging in unauthorized copying. As I said, it didn't stop everyone but it was sufficient. As copying became easier, the only thing that was left was to either shrug and disregard it (in which case many creators would resort to self-censo
                • Copyright is just an extension of the exclusivity that creators had over a work that creators enjoyed in the days before the printing press. Copying was hard enough and error prone that natural checks and balances tended to discourage most (but admittedly not all) from engaging in unauthorized copying.

                  What the hell are you talking about?

                  Unauthorized copying was absolutely standard practice everywhere in the world until the 18th century, and most places until well into the 19th and 20th centuries. Hell, some places, like Alexandria during the days of the famous library, made it government policy; any books that entered the city had to be turned over for the library to make copies of, if the librarians wanted.

                  And it's a good thing too, since every written work we have from antiquity which wasn't carved int

        • Counterfeiting should be illegal, if you are not the creator then you should have to say so. But this problem is largely self inflicted, charging insane prices (compared to actual cost), imposing unreasonable restrictions on products. In a free market and there is money to be made the market will provide, that is the brilliance of the free market. If it is illegal it will just become a black market with higher profits for the criminals.

          Anyway I don't actually see how anybody could make money by selling pira

          • But this problem is largely self inflicted, charging insane prices (compared to actual cost), imposing unreasonable restrictions on products.

            It's fascinating that someone can write the above and then advocate free markets in the very next sentence. Do you understand that what you're arguing for is economically equivalent to having a free market, except that any time someone wants to back out of a deal they just keep what they received but don't bother giving what they promised in return?

            • by jedidiah ( 1196 ) on Saturday July 18, 2015 @02:59PM (#50136397) Homepage

              Except copyright is not a free market. It's a state sanctioned monopoly. Of course it's going to have some of the defects of a monopoly. The trust in question may or may not realize this and adapt to the situation. They don't have to really. The monopoly they have insulates them somewhat from market pressure.

          • by AK Marc ( 707885 )

            Anyway I don't actually see how anybody could make money by selling pirated movies or songs when it they are available easily for free. Unless they are claiming they are not pirated, then of course they are committing fraud anyway.

            DVDs in China. Street vendors selling pirated content openly as pirated. Why do people pay? Because you pay (About $0.50 USD equivalent) for it on DVD/CD. The convenience factor of buying a "DVD" of the movie you can walk home and play in any DVD player. Though I worded it as I did because you can end up buying a CD with the movie (a cam or screener version) on CD, not DVD, and rarely are the rips highest quality. Though many are the full-feature DVD with menus and languages, for the same $0.50. Part

        • I invite you to carry on working at your normal job for the next year, but sign all the pay cheques over to some random criminal who did literally nothing to deserve that money. Oh, and sign over those of all your colleagues as well.

          Oh, so kind of like taxes? I see why the government doesn't like it; seems like competition.

      • by Jhon ( 241832 )

        " this victimless crime "

        Lets be honest. This is *NOT* a victimless crime. If someone releases countless copies of some song or movie then it devalues the original media just like copies of $100 bills devalue currency. Yes, there are many many examples of those wouldn't pay for a DVD or CD if they couldn't get it for free -- but it's not universal.

        I know my purchasing habits have changed -- and so have my rental habits with the availability of media the way it is.

  • by Zak3056 ( 69287 ) on Saturday July 18, 2015 @01:03PM (#50135859) Journal

    It's awesome that a judge apparently created a new crime because he deicided that the legislature was wrong.

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      Not really, he just ruled that the new law was flawed and thus the rules defaulted back to the old ones.

  • Insanity (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JustAnotherOldGuy ( 4145623 ) on Saturday July 18, 2015 @01:03PM (#50135865)
    10 years? You can rape and/or kill someone and not get that much time. Pure insanity.
    • 10 years? You can rape and/or kill someone and not get that much time. Pure insanity.

      But that's only one disposable serf - we're talking *corporate profits* here. Perhaps millions of dollars.

      Privatize the gains, socialize the risks - that's the true nature of governmental systems.

  • by xenog ( 3653043 ) on Saturday July 18, 2015 @01:04PM (#50135873)
    I certainly hope the UK does not go down this road. It is like making manufacturing refrigerators illegal because it leaves ice sellers out of a job. This is retrograde. The industry should just start to accept that the Internet means copying things, and that is good. Ten years in jail for putting a film online? The UK is copying the bad things from the USA.
  • By comparision (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 18, 2015 @01:04PM (#50135875)
    These are all UK crimes with 10 year penalties:

    Burglary with intent to inflict GBH on a person or do unlawful damage to a building or anything in it (non-dwelling)
    Possession of firearm with intent to cause fear of violence
    Possessing or distributing prohibited weapon or ammunition (5 year minimum sentence)
    Riot
    Making threats to kill
    Administering poison etc. so as to endanger life
    Cruelty to persons under 16
    Indecent assault
    Engaging in sexual activity in the presence of a child
    Causing a child to watch a sexual act
    Meeting child following sexual grooming
    Indecency with children under 14
    Taking, having etc. indecent photographs of children
    Committing offence with intent to commit sexual offence
    Trespass with intent to commit sexual offence
    Burglary with intent to commit rape (non-dwelling)
    Assault with intent to commit buggery
    Causing a person to engage in sexual activity without consent
    Engaging in sexual activity in the presence of a person with a mental disorder impeding choice
    Causing a person with a mental disorder impeding choice to watch a sexual act
    Engaging in sexual activity in the presence, procured by inducement, threat or deception, of a person with a mental disorder
    Care workers: sexual activity with a person with a mental disorder
    Care workers: inciting person with mental disorder to engage in sexual act

    I'm sure we can all agree that these are comparable to someone sharing a song.
    • I'm sure we can all agree that these are comparable to someone sharing a song.

      You make a good emotional appeal, but the reality is that someone just casually sharing a song isn't likely to be subject to these penalties at all. Even TFA mentions this, and this is only an early stage proposal, far from becoming an actual law.

      What we're really talking about here is something like an organised criminal gang that systematically identifies people who might be coerced into giving up pre-release copies of major movies, then distributes those pre-release movies for substantial profit at the e

      • I'm sure we can all agree that these are comparable to someone sharing a song.

        You make a good emotional appeal, but the reality is that someone just casually sharing a song isn't likely to be subject to these penalties at all.

        Unless you annoy someone in power, hold 'dangerous' or 'inconvenient' political/ideological/religious views, or for whatever reason the government wants to destroy some individual.

        History teaches us that whenever government enacts a law for which they claim "it will never be used for 'X'" you can be assured that's precisely what it will be used for eventually.

        Those who refuse to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

        Strat

        • Nice strawman, but this is not a situation with vague wording that is amenable to creative interpretation later on. The distinction between civil and criminal copyright infringement is relatively clear and unambiguous in the UK, and nothing I've seen anyone say or propose in relation to this discussion suggests that this will change.

          • Nice strawman, but this is not a situation with vague wording that is amenable to creative interpretation later on. The distinction between civil and criminal copyright infringement is relatively clear and unambiguous in the UK, and nothing I've seen anyone say or propose in relation to this discussion suggests that this will change.

            As I said, people who believe assurances of government over the clear track record of history are doomed to repeat that history. That is no straw man, that is historical fact.

            Nothing you have said diminishes this. It does not matter how "clear" the law appears. Words will be redefined and reinterpreted to suit government's goals, as history has shown us again and again.

            You sticking your fingers in your ears and going "lalalala I can't hear you" and "straw man! straw man!" does not change the clear track rec

            • Then why bother debating laws at all? If there is no point discussing the words on the page because anyone with enough power can just ignore them, and the checks and balances are inadequate to safeguarding us against that abuse, we might as well all go pick up out pitchforks and march on Downing Street tomorrow. Fortunately, we are a long way from reaching that stage. If we weren't, the government wouldn't have just lost the very case we're talking about because their position was defeated in court.

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        While you are correct, it won't stop the City of London Police threatening search engine operators with 10 years if they don't hand over their domains.

        • There are all kinds of things about the City of London that should have had a light shined on them a long time ago so we can decide whether we still want to allow them in our society. If you think CoLP behaving dubiously in this context is scary, consider that to this day they retain a special position with regard to Parliament, which for reasons beyond my comprehension has not been terminated despite there being no law that requires it. Then again, we also still allow people to vote on our laws because of

      • You make a good emotional appeal, but the reality is that someone just casually sharing a song isn't likely to be subject to these penalties at all.

        That's sort of like saying the penalty against burglary would only be used against someone who steals the Crown Jewels.

        If the law specifies a minimum offense at all, you can be sure that anyone reaching that minimum is at risk. We've had very many documented civil copyright trolls going after otherwise un-notable individuals, and thus abuse of criminal law is c

        • If the law specifies a minimum offense at all, you can be sure that anyone reaching that minimum is at risk.

          Perhaps, but the relevant statutes enumerate quite specifically when copyright infringement becomes a criminal matter. Moreover, whether to impose any custodial sentence at all would fall to the courts, which tend to take an extremely dim view of anyone trying to influence their judgements on such matters extra-judicially beyond the creation of the relevant statute law in the first place.

          I'm pretty heavily pro-civil liberties and pro-copyright reform in these debates, but it doesn't really advance the debat

  • That's a relief. What with all those spare cells in UK prisons I was worried that some prisons might have to close down.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 18, 2015 @01:10PM (#50135899)

    As someone who lives in the UK, I think more people need to be aware of Jury nullification [wikipedia.org].

    For those of you who don't know what it is, if you're ever on a trial for a victimless crime (for example, this) and the evidence clearly indicates that the person is guilty of a "crime," but you find the law unjust or wrongly applied, you can disagree with it when making your vote.

    This is because you cannot be punished for the vote you make as a juror. This is why the entire concept of jury nullification exists to begin with.

    Juries have more power than Judges, Magistrates and the prosecution would like them to know about.

    • I'm not sure about the UK but in the U.S. juries are kept mostly in the dark by the judge.

      I was on a jury where the judge was the same one on the Zimmerman trial. In this case it wasn't clear what happened because every witness contradicted each other. The defendant seemed to claim self defense as in she said the other woman tried to hit her so she punched her in the face which left a bruise. The other woman claimed out of the blue the other woman hit her with an 18 in wrench. The defense attorney never mad

  • Quintupling the jail sentence, I bet they expect the rates of piracy to drop to 1/5th their previous value. But deterrents don't really work like that.

  • What's going to grow quicker? Copyright extension periods or jail times for copying a song?

    Fuck, 10 years copyright protection would already be too long, let alone 10 years in jail for a fucking song.

  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Saturday July 18, 2015 @01:19PM (#50135949)

    From now on, if you want songs or games and you can't afford it, get a club, crack some skulls and grab a few wallets, then buy the songs you want with the money you just stole.

    If you get caught, you'll be doing much less time.

    • It's less complicated than that. Just steal the CD and you'll get less time, if any time at all.
  • by Ice Station Zebra ( 18124 ) on Saturday July 18, 2015 @01:28PM (#50136001) Homepage Journal

    want to make everything you do a crime if you aren't paying them money.

    • I'd think ten days in jail would be enough punishment. Has anyone gone through the court system who suggests "throw away the key" type punishments?

      With ADD, I'd think the sentence is also 7 times longer than for normal humans.

      But when we look at the influence of monied interests -- well, the Royals can't punish hard enough. When the economic royalists do get punished for crimes (if ever) it's a hand slap, or the blame it all on some subordinate, as if that person made decisions.

  • So if the BBC or the WaPo uses a pic that they don't have rights to, who goes to jail?

    I suspect that the copyright rights and penalties are diverging for companies and individuals.

  • Depriving people of money is not as heinous as depriving people of their lives, own personal security, and dignity. Do not treat it as such.

    • So, what? No prison terms at all for any financial crime?

      Wait, I think that already happens...

      • by tchdab1 ( 164848 )

        Not if the amount of money is tremendously large.

        • If someone downloads Hurt Locker and gets caught, then they should be out for the cost of the media, legal costs, and cost of the investigation. Nothing more. It should be a civil process and not a criminal one. I never understand how the courts decide how much money a music pirate deprived a record company of as that money was never generated in the first place by the private to be accounted for.

  • These are two entirely different aspects of the issue.

  • by fredrated ( 639554 ) on Saturday July 18, 2015 @03:15PM (#50136489) Journal

    Capital punishment is a significant deterrent, with a guarantee of no repeats!

  • You get less time for manslaughter
  • by wonkey_monkey ( 2592601 ) on Saturday July 18, 2015 @04:01PM (#50136705) Homepage

    A lot of people seem to be flipping out over this without understanding that 10 years is the maximum sentence. 10 years for ripping a DVD? No, that's not going to happen. 10 years for flogging a few knock-off DVDs at the local street market? No, that's not going to happen either.

    10 years for getting hold of studio-quality raw data and selling access to it for £5 each to thousands of people, which eventually floods the market and ruins a studio's sales? That might get you on your way.

    • The US went through a period where individual citizens were being targeted in RIAA lawsuits en masse and fined anywhere from several thousand to hundreds of thousands of dollars for distribution of copyright materials via file sharing programs. These laws were likely written with the intent of punishing those who commercially distributed illegal copyrighted materials, but were later turned on individuals. College students, housewives, single mothers, grandparents, disabled persons... didn't matter. Tens

  • And is that rising too?
    I include unreasonable claims for copyright violation damages in my definition of copyright fraud (and I don't have a personal legal system) - your local definitions may vary.

  • Prison is meant to be reserved for separating people from society who are dangerous until they're not dangerous any more.

    The correct sentence for copyright infringement (which does not demonstrate that the perpetrator is a danger to others), is to 1) pay back the person who was wronged (though that's a civil matter), and 2) a fine or community service of some sort.

  • At some point there will be less legal penalty if you just murder anyone who accuses you of copyright infringement.
  • Cameron and his group of NHS saboteurs love to dismantle achievements of the area of enlightenment. Therefore, they love austerity and jailing people for nothing.

  • Lets face it all of this crap comes from big media. They are using every tactic, even illegal ones to convince governments that the garbage they create is worth any price to protect. The average citizen of the western world doesn't give two cardinal shits about this. So who else is pushing for it?

  • but this makes it abundantly clear that we average cirtizens are well on our way to becoming serfs, with corporations as the feudal lords.

If all the world's economists were laid end to end, we wouldn't reach a conclusion. -- William Baumol

Working...