Hands behind your back. You’re nicked.

police_oldWell the online police seem to be out on patrol – and in recent days it has become clear the penalty for failing to cooperate with copyright and lack of understanding of the moral basis of buying software could result a hefty sentence… The new campaign is set to become one of the UK’s largest crackdowns on illegal file sharing and torrent uploading, the initiative is part of collaboration between Hollywood, who are represented by FACT and other industry producers.

TorrentFreak reported that the industry experts and City of London Police are working with law enforcement agencies in the UK to bring an end to sites offering copyrighted material at no cost or at violation of licenses. The story broke last week following letters that were sent by the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) to influential torrent sharing sites. The government seems to have become more concerned about the high volume of copyrighted content that is being freely accessed on the web – in efforts to avoid a mass exodus of creative industry from the UK the government has seemingly begun the crackdown:

“We are therefore currently working on an initiative with Government and industry bodies to help prevent, deter and disrupt the criminal activity linked to websites involved in online copyright infringement.”

It has been found that neither site which has so far received the letters is based in the UK – but following investigation UK authorities believe them to be committing crimes there. The story got serious for those involved when the NFIB, who was set up after a government review, informed the site’s owners:

“you are committing the offense of communication to the public under s.107(2A) of the Copyright, Designs & Patents Act 1988 (“CDPA”). Section 107(2A) is an indictable offence punishable by up to two years’ imprisonment,”

NFIB later went on to discuss the fact that some operators may be breaching the serious Crime Act and Organised Crime Act leading to a penalty which could be “up to ten years’ imprisonment”. The UK has had previous large scale publicity on the harm 0f copyright infringement – we all know – but it seems to be the actions of the few that have affected the many. Google and others have been tasked with limiting access to infringed content. In the end it will always be an issue and will require legislation and law enforcement to resolve the issue, the UK has today shown that it won’t role over when piracy is concerned. Personally the act of piracy is a selfish and immoral method of bypassing paying for content. In fact copyright infringement can harm not only those who directly make content but the industry in general and the creativity and choice of markets. The infringement of copyright could lead to industry moving away and that means less choice for consumers. That’s not good. So torrent sites will soon become a thing of internet history – that is the illegal sites, not all torrents are. SOCA and the Police will be onto those operating sites, the web is becoming a less open and more closed. Soon you could end up in the clink for about any activity online…

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