The UK Government has announced changes to the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 that brings the maximum sentence for online copyright infringement inline with those for physical copyright infringement.
The increased sentences for copyright infringement are designed to target thos who are intent on the sale and distribution of copyrighted material without the appropriate digital rights.
The changes affect sections 198 1(A) (makes for sale or hire) and 107 2(A) (makes an article specifically designed or adapted for making copies of a particular copyright work) of the Act that are concerned with digital rights infringements against.copyright holders and the consequential loss to the holder or the exposure to a potential loss.
The changes also incorporate a new test of mens rea in these cases and introduces a new increased maximum sentence of 10 years.
The government is keen to point out that although these changes do not criminalise the downloading of material but do point out that anyone downloading does risk a civil action by the copyright holder.