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UK online pirates might risk up to 10 years in jail under newly considered sentences

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Lately, UK officials have been cracking down hard on piracy, going as far as raiding and arresting individuals distributing pirate android TV devices. It seemed the UK was moving towards a progressive direction when they passed a law allowing for consumers to make private copies of their music, movies and media for personal use, but the entertainment industry recently took the decision to court and had it reversed. Now, due to constant pressure from film and music lobbyists, the government is considering increasing jail sentences for citizens caught committing online piracy.

As reported by the BBC, officials have started to consult on possibly increasing jail sentencing to 10 years when facing copyright infringement charges committed online. The current laws allow online piracy cases to apply a maximum penalty of 2 years. For physical goods that are pirated, defendants already face possible maximum sentencing of 10 years of imprisonment, and the entertainment industry wishes to see the same extreme penalties to be applied to online users.

With the reversed decision on personal copies of media for private use, and police attempting to stop the sale of illegal pirate TV boxes, we can agree that the government is having a second look at online piracy and how new technology is facilitating access to entertainment especially with television and movies. Even though officials reiterate that they do not wish to target small time offenders, these conservative measures can undermine privacy, and personal freedom of web users. A debate will spark between internet activists and the entertainment legal lobby groups whom are trying to convince the UK government that tougher  sentencing is needed to keep up with the latest platforms and technology.

Renee Biana

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