Piracy has been an issue for as long as digital content has been available. VCR’s were once thought to kill the TV and movie industry, and we were told to not copy that floppy in the 90’s. However, ever since Napster made online piracy almost mainstream, courts have cracked down on the offenders, and hard.
Today, it was announced that the UK government would ask Parliament to grant them new powers when it comes to punishing those guilty of copyright infringement. If the new powers are granted, this would allow them to sentence offenders to up to 10 years in jail. Think about that for just a moment.
We’ve all heard that piracy is not a victimless crime. And yes, arguments can be made for piracy’s ability to expand the reach of content to people that might have otherwise not consumed it. However, at the end of the day, it is still a crime. You’re getting something for free, that you should be paying for. And with any crime, there should be punishment. However, up to 10 years in jail for copyright infringement hardly seems fitting.
Here are two other crimes that, if found guilty of, you can also face a maximum of 10 years in jail: ‘possession of firearm with intent to cause fear of violence’ and ‘administering poison etc. so as to endanger life.’ These two crimes are definitely the sort of thing that a person should be jailed for some serious time for. Pirating Game of Thrones is not.
The current maximum penalty for copyright infringement is 2 years in jail. Honestly, any jail time seems a bit absurd for something like this. However, the fact that they want to push to increase that five-fold is just absurd.