He is bringing in a penalty for copyright pirates which is about the same as you would get for manslaughter – ten years.
Online copyright infringement currently carries a maximum penalty of two years’ imprisonment probably because no one gets hurt and society carries on.
But Tory Ministers think that it should be bought into line with copyright infringement of physical goods. This is a bad thing because it hurts business. The government said tougher sentences would act as a “significant deterrent” after all they have stopped the knock-off market dead in its tracks.
It is fairly clear that the move comes after lobbying from Big Content. They argue that a couple of years in jail just isn’t a sufficient deterrent to prevent online piracy and crucifixion has been banned.
It’s not, the police are clear to point out, aimed at small-time downloaders.
The problem is that internet rights groups will question the influence Hollywood and the music industry has over the daily operations of the police. Already industry bodies, funded by top studios and record labels, have paid for staff to work in police stations with the sole brief of investigating copyright crime.
Intellectual Property Minister Baroness Neville-Rolfe said: “The government takes copyright crime extremely seriously – it hurts businesses, consumers and the wider economy both on and offline.
“Our creative industries are worth more than £7 billion to the UK economy and it’s important to protect them from online criminal enterprises.
“By toughening penalties for commercial-scale online offending we are offering greater protections to businesses and sending a clear message to deter criminals.”
Of course it is also taking the UK back to the 19th century where property was deemed more important than human life.