98% of Public Says "No" to 10-Year Jail Terms for Pirating Stuff

By Gary Cutlack on at

A public consultation looking at ways to beef up the legal response to online piracy has come out strongly against making examples of people with massive ten-year maximum jail terms, with 98 per cent of the public saying that locking people up for ten years for nicking something virtual is really a bit much.

Responses to the Intellectual Property Office survey included the fact that people can sometimes end up sharing files accidentally (yeah, sure), the opinion that copyright infringement isn't actually a "serious" crime, plus the fact that physical piracy, with all its equipment and manufacturing processes, ought to be thought of as a more complex crime than simply accidentally queuing up 12 superhero film torrents.

The supporting arguments, mostly from the media industries, are that a ten-year maximum sentence would make a "powerful deterrent to those engaging in IP crime," and that such aggressive sentences would ensure that creativity is "respected and rewarded."

The consultation results document [PDF] concludes that: "This proposal has clearly struck a chord with many stakeholders, which is reflected in the high number of responses. As a result, the Government is now carefully considering the best way forward. However, the Government remains committed to tackling those engaged in online criminality." [TorrentFreak]

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