Life Imprisonment For Copyright Fraud Could Be Enforced Soon

By: Chidi Akomas

The penalties for copyright fraud could soon be much severe. What would you think a reasonable punishment for pirating a copy of windows would be? A slapped wrist and don't do it again? A fine? How much though? Maybe about double the cost of buying it in the first place? Yeah, that sounds about fair.

On a related note what types of crimes do you think would merit a life sentence?. In America, legislation has been proposed that would mean certain kinds of copyright infringement could carry a life sentence penalty. Its not quite the death sentence but it is not far off.

Entitled the Intellectual Property Act 2007, the new legislation encompasses several new definitions and provisions of crimes.

These include:
Criminalising attempting to infringe copyright-on the grounds that where most laws are concerned, attempting to commit the crime is as illegal as actually committing it. This doesn't entirely seem to make sense though.

Currently Federal Law does punishes not-for-profit copyright infringement(like downloading/copying media for your own use) with between one and ten years imprisonment, but the infringement must have to been proven to have taken place.. This new legislation seems to remove the burden of proof, or to make evidence unnecessary.

Adding penalties for intended copyright crime-i.e. for profit copyright infringements that don't actually manage to make any profits.

Currently, it's required that the criminal distribute at least 10 copies within a 180 day period. Now the new bill will state that they did not have to get round to doing that in order to be punished. This again it is removing the need for evidence.

Permitting more wire-tapping for piracy investigations. Also allowing computers to be seized more readily.

Increasing the penalties for violating the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

Just to round things off, the new legislation also contained increased punishments for repeat offenders, and a requirement that RIAA be notified of anyone trying to import copyright infringing material.

Obviously, this bill has not been passed yet, and from where were standing, does not seem particularly likely to be. So its possible this is just one of those media get hold of something and blow it out of proportion.
Not to mention that even if this legislation did get implemented in the US, it might not make it over the Atlantic.

So to summarize this whole discussion i think that there should be tougher punishment for for offenders who use copright material for profit, whether it leads to life imprisonment is another matter. To be honest in my opinion i think a lesser sentence should be enforced.

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