In a ground breaking step, the United Kingdom has recently approved their Digital Economy Act. This law seeks to increase jail time for piracy and copyright infringers from 2 years to 10 years.
The british bill that got royal assent just a few weeks ago seeks to reconcile penalties for online copyright infringement with penalties for offline copyright infringement. The stepping stone for this harmonization was made by studying the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act of 1988. The CDPA1988 penalizes counterfeiting and patent infringement severely. The goal was to make commercial scale online infringement just as severely punished in order to dissuade people from pirating.
The bill has also been approved in the face of pre-loaded Kodi devices. Owning a Kodi device in itself will not incur in jail time for piracy penalties. Under the UK Law, individual users won’t be punished either for the law doesn’t intend to prosecute streaming. The goal of the law is to prosecute those who distribute and communicate copyright infringing content.
This means that sellers and distributors of pre-loaded devices, and not individual users, are in trouble. But torrent users could also face jail time for piracy distribution and copyright infringement. See, the difference between streaming and torrenting is that when you are streaming you are only consuming, but when you torrent you are also sharing. The way torrents work is that you download a file from many different other computers that have the file and have joined the network. Once you download it, you are also sharing it. In the eyes of the Digital Economy Act, the person torrenting becomes a pirate aswell and not just a consumer.
Furthermore, the European Court of Justice has announced that they will start taking measures against copyright infringement although it is unclear if they will prosecute and offer jail time for piracy and other kinds of online copyright infringement or if they will just lobby for increased penalties among European countries. A major difference is that the ECJ does consider streaming or temporary reproduction an infraction.
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