(credit: UK government)
The UK government has confirmed that it wants to bring in legislation increasing the maximum sentence for online copyright infringement to 10 years of imprisonment, despite widespread objections and doubts about its feasibility.
Baroness Neville-Rolfe, parliamentary under-secretary of state and minister for intellectual property, writes in her foreword to the document responding to the consultation held at the end of last year: “we are now proposing changes that include increasing the maximum sentence, but at the same time addressing concerns about the scope of the offence.
The revised provisions will help protect rights holders, while making the boundaries of the offence clearer, so that everyone can understand how the rules should be applied.”
As the UK government’s summary of responses reveals, 1,032 submissions were received, of which 938 came through the Open Rights Group.
Concerns raised included the fact that there was no requirement to prove that an infringer had intent to cause harm for them to be considered guilty.
That meant the proposed offence had an element of “strict liability,” which would result in somebody being held liable even if they had no intention of causing harm.
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