UK Looks To Increase Fines For Copyright Infringement By 10X

from the seems-a-bit-much dept

Just as many in the US are arguing that ridiculously high statutory fines for copyright infringement are at odds with any sense of fairness, it looks like the UK may be going in the other direction. Specifically, it's set to increase fines for criminal infringement by a factor of 10, from £5,000 to £50,000. The only good thing is that the government rejected the idea that jailtime should be an option too. However, the process by which it came up with the new fines is pretty questionable as well. It asked for comments, and (of course) industry reps pushed for fines as high as possible. Since the general public doesn't pay nearly as much attention to such things, there was very little opposition -- though some pointed out that rather than setting a statutory rate, wouldn't it make sense to actually set fines based on how much actual damage is done. That seems like a good idea, but apparently it's easier to just use huge fines.

Reader Comments (rss)

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  1. identicon
    Ima Fish, May 6th, 2009 @ 6:23pm

    I would assume that if copyright should last forever minus one day, maybe fines for violating copyright should be an infinite amount of money minus a cent.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 6th, 2009 @ 8:13pm

    They can't be serious

    $75660.00 - Is that per infraction?

    Who even has that much money, get real people.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Pete Dixon, May 6th, 2009 @ 8:58pm

    They are serious

    But to be fair about this, all legislators' computers and those of their immediate families should be searched and the legislators' families required to pay the full value of accrued fines, should any fines be required to be laid.

    That'll teach them.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Bettawrekonize, May 6th, 2009 @ 9:22pm

    You know, I seen on the news that some people lobbying against the do not call registry were actually on the do not call registry. I have little doubt that those who pass legislation probably break these laws themselves.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    John Wiltshire, May 6th, 2009 @ 9:57pm


    While I agree that copyright should be protected and any infringements should be punished,it does seem that our present Government usually goes for the easy option ie a hefty fine. As always it is the easiest people to punish who get punished. Anyone committing a real crime seems to get away with it. Burglars, muggers anyone who may take a bit of effort to punish can expect no problems in court. Still as Labour said when they were originally elected - tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime. We still have that to look forward to don't we!!!!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Rick, May 6th, 2009 @ 10:16pm

    10,000 Songs

    So, if I fill my iPod up with 10,000 songs legally it will cost me $9900 to $12900.

    If I download 10,000 songs illegally the fine will be $756.6 BILLION?

    Yet, if I bounce a check - the most I am liable for is 3 times the face value.

    How is the infringement fine even remotely fair? Aren't punishments supposed to fit the crime?

    These fines are impossible to pay without a government bailout.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Paul Brinker, May 7th, 2009 @ 12:37am

    The problem is the context of the law

    When the supreem court wants to decide major legal issues, it goes back to the context of how the law was put togeather. For example the fedralist papers are sited in some of the courts rulings.

    When the copyright fine was put in place, it was done in the context of mass copying, people copying someone elses book to undercut the cost of the book for instance. This was a big deal because the cost of a book is vary little but the cost of the content could be a lot.

    This worked through CDs DVDs etc because in some places the vary plant that pressed legal disks also pressed illegial ones (china does this a lot). In every case I've brought up there was a profit motive. In fact the context of the law was to prevent the profit motive.

    Since Profit is no longer the motive we've got a law written for a differnt time still in place. Whats worse, its easly abused because those with money can force those with out money to go to court and face fees. Some of the people geting picked on are so poor no settlement would be payable and you would probley just drive them to bankrupcy.

    Ultimatly the issue is how much value we as a culture want to put on our music, Right now we put a value of 1 dollar per ~3 min of music. BUT because of anti-bootleging laws on the books, 3 min of music is worth up to $250,000.

    The only outcome from this will be the ability to bankrupt anyone you like just by charging them for infringment (with out any proof) to send a message thats been lost for far to long.

    O yes, and if you feel like taking me to court for infringment Ill show up with out a lawyer, pleade that there is no way for me to pay (both for a lawyer and any settlement) and that its currently not possable to get a job. You cant get blood out of a stone nor can you get money out of a poor college student.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    JP_Fife, May 7th, 2009 @ 1:28am

    Government bending over for the music/entertainment industry as normal. But it doesn't bother me as there was a report in yesterday's Scotsman about how 50% of fines in Scotland go unpaid. Even if these IP owners get judgments it's not a certainty that they will get any money.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    Rob, May 7th, 2009 @ 7:39am

    It's the UK

    with all the shenanigans (I love that word) they've been pulling, why are we surprised?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 7th, 2009 @ 8:23am

    "You cant get blood out of a stone nor can you get money out of a poor college student."

    OH! Yes you can. It is called a judgment.
    Just plan on working for the next 45 years with all income above subsistence going to satisfy the judgment.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 7th, 2009 @ 8:31am

    Re: Copyright

    The causes of crime? You mean like the criminalization of sharing?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. identicon
    The infamous Joe, May 7th, 2009 @ 10:06am

    Re: The problem is the context of the law

    You cant get blood out of a stone nor can you get money out of a poor college student.

    You get blood out of a stone if it's sharp and you squeeze hard enough.

    ..or, so I'm told.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 7th, 2009 @ 10:38am

    Increase fines

    That's what you get in places like Canada and UK where ONE MAN writes the laws. Even if there's anyone in these legislatures who knows the meaning of "debate" it's all irrelevant as all members are req'd to tow the party line, meaning they MUST approve, even if neither they nor their constituents are in favor.

    Where would any opposition come from, let alone effective opposition? Any wonder the populace haven't any interest? What's the point? They can't do anything about it anyway. If they try making any noise, they're promptly put away and silenced in these socialist democracies.

    That's why taxes in those places are amongst the highest in the world -- to pay for more bureaucrats, bigger govt, and more inept social programs that nobody wants and wouldn't need if not to pay the taxes [for same]...


    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. identicon
    ver, May 7th, 2009 @ 12:01pm

    i think these guys are even more morons than some one could think. the best way is to throw tham into the sea , and look who will survive

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15. identicon
    David, May 7th, 2009 @ 1:01pm


    Of course, copyright infringement is so much more important than being mugged on the street or having your house broken into. This will obviously be a soft touch for bringing in MORE revenue for the government who don't seem to be able to recognise a REAL crime even if it happened right under their noses. Anyone for a raid on an MP's office in the Houses of Parliament by our astute police force? Seems that this is the way foward, rather than actually policing our streets and locking up hardened villains.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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