If you’re a regular online pirate in Britain, you may want to stop now. UK Government just introduced the new Digital Economy Bill, which despite public protest has increased the maximum prison sentence to ten years.
This frightening change followed a study by the UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO), which suggested that the previous maximum sentence of two years was not enough to stop online copyright infringement - concluding that criminal sanctions should be brought in line with similar offences like counterfeiting.
The government opened a public consultation before, asking for feedback from the public. But the outcry of protest against a longer prison term seems to have gone unheard, as lawmakers decided to go with a full decade irregardless.
But it’s highly unlikely you’re going to get 10 years as a casual downloader. A previous statement from the government states that the maximum sentence “allows the courts to apply an appropriate sentence to reflect the scale of the offending.” Simply put, it will be reflective of your level of piracy - if you’re a member of a mass torrenting group, chances are you’ll go down for a decade.
If you’re a more casual pirate, you’ll still feel a wrath if caught, but with an “appropriate sentence” that reflects the level of piracy.
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I am the Founder and Editor-in-chief of New Rising Media. You can follow me on Twitter @MrJasonEngland.