Over the past year both the civil and criminal courts in the UK have been exercising their muscle to crackdown on intellectual property infringement in the digital economy.
In the civil courts this has seen innovative developments in streaming and blocking injunctions being imposed against ISPs to prevent infringing content being distributed online. In the criminal courts this has seen several high profile prosecutions resulting in custodial sentences being imposed against the infringers and particularly the suppliers of Kodi boxes designed to enable access to infringing content.
The Crackdown Continues
The Digital Economy Act 2017 has now toughened the position even further and the criminal law sanctions relating to online copyright infringement have been enhanced. The maximum sentence that can be imposed on an infringer is now ten years. This change brings the law in line with what is already available for physical copyright infringement.
The changes affect Sections 198 1(A) and 107 2(A) of the Copyright Designs and Patents Act.
An additional intention or knowledge of wrongdoing (mens rea) has also been introduced. It is now necessary to prove that a person “knows, or has reason to believe that the act of infringement will cause loss to the owner of the right or expose the owner of the right to a risk of loss”.
These offences do not criminalise the downloading of material but civil action can be still taken against any infringer in these circumstances.
DMH Stallard has a team of intellectual property specialists who can advise and assist on the range of IP enforcement options available for clients.
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