UK: fight against copyright infringement intensifies
Recent study presented by UK ’s Intellectual Property Office (IPO) shows that internet users are adjusting their behaviour when it comes to online content access. Britons aged 12 and up were polled to see what changed from an earlier segment study conducted in 2013. They were asked to honestly answer how they access and pay for content found online, including TV programmes, films, music, video games, software and e-books.
Most notable changes in digital content consumption include ways of accessing content and levels of copyright infringement. Also, different tendencies emerged based on different content type.
Some key findings:
- Significant decline in illegal content access in the films category from the previous wave (from 21% in 2013 to 16% in 2015).
- Convenience was the most commonly-cited reason both amongst those who accessed all of their content legally and among those whose consumption was partly illegal (48% v 43%).
IPO study is part of larger effort in reviewing and developing legislative and disciplinary response to copyright infringement of online content in the UK. The UK government to date has allocated £3.1m to fund campaigns designed to inform consumers how they can access content legally, as well as spending £5.56m on funding the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit up until 2017 to tackle and investigate copyright infringement.
Just this week, the new proposal documenting the Penalties for Online Copyright Infringement was released. The policy proposal stipulates an increase in maximum prison sentences from 2 to 10 years for copyright infringement. Recommendation is not surprising, as the proposal document cites a study arguing “piracy is often linked to larger, wide-scale criminal efforts, and can cause considerable harm to the industry.”
UK government effort to send a strong message re: online content copyright infringement is gaining traction:
- In May, after a claim from the UK Publishers Association, the courts ordered the takedown of a number of e-book selling sites.
- In June, The UK National Trading Standards eCrime team initiated the efforts to stop the using of Facebook as a piracy marketplace.
- Also, two UK men were arrested in December of 2014 the suspected leaking of a filmThe Expendables.