UK Looks To Increase Penalties For Commercial Online Copyright Infringement 10X

from the wrong-direction dept

When the “Gowers Report” on copyright first came out in the UK, we pointed out that it had a lot of bad ideas included. The one good point was that copyright length shouldn’t be extended any more. So, now that the UK is planning to ignore that one good suggestion, it’s moving forward with plans to implement the bad suggestions in the report — such as increasing the fines for online copyright infringement by 10x. To be fair, this is focused just on “commercial-scale” copying where someone is profiting from the infringement. But, given how the recording industry works, how long until they look for ways to expand that definition or increase the fines for “personal copying” to keep them “more aligned” with the fines for commercial copying?

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Comments on “UK Looks To Increase Penalties For Commercial Online Copyright Infringement 10X”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Given that the entire claim from the recording industry is based around “copyright infringement is bad because we lose profit”, they must assume that people would otherwise be buying the CDs… So by NOT buying them, people ARE “profiting” by copyright infringement, via saving money on not buying the CDs.

Willing to bet someone will try that argument, sooner or later.

Ima Fish (profile) says:

I don’t understand this at all. If someone breaks into my house and steals $100 from my wallet. Under the law I can’t make him pay me $1,000 for the money he stole. I can only get back exactly what he stole.

Yet if someone downloads a song from the internet, suddenly the music industry can recoup damages beyond what they suffered?

Exactly which situation is worse? Exactly what situation do we want to stop?

Of course someone will chime in saying that downloading is widespread and the music industry is losing millions of dollars. So what. Why should the person who was caught have to pay damages for all the people who are not caught.

Let’s assume that 10 different people, independently and completely unaware of each other, rob 10 different branches of the same bank. Should the one guy who got caught be forced to pay for all 10 robberies?! I don’t see how that’s fair or should be allowed under the law. But yet, that’s exactly what the current music industry wants.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re:

They can’t possibly prove how much (if anything) they’ve lost from non-commercial copying. They’re suffering major backlash from suing people who they *think* might have lost them money in this way. So, they’re looking to increase penalties against the actual pirates they can prove a real case against.

I understand your points, but this is a hell of a lot better than trying to copy the American situation. They’ll still lose millions, but hopefully not doing so while dragging down ordinary, often innocent, families.

Ed says:

I am in favor of making a simple distinction. Did the person profit from distributing (not receiving) the material?

If the answer is yes, then the company/person in question is entitled to the full “profit” they would have made, from the equivalent number of sales, plus all expenses incurred.

On the other hand, if the distributor made no profit, then a different law/section should apply.

Receiving a copy of a copyrighted work illegally benefits you the cost of “one copy”. Regardless of the number of copies reproduced later during free redistribution. That does not make it morally or legally right, but it is real. No emotional plea changes that. A fixed charge of a couple of hundred dollars per redistribution offense is not unreasonable (the burned hand teaches best) but no more.

If that distinction is made “Within the Law”, then I have no problem with it.

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