David Cameron’s advisor on intellectual property issues, Mike Weatherley MP, has published a discussion paper in which he advocates custodial sentences for persistent non-commercial copyright infringers.
In Follow The Money’: Financial Options To Assist In The Battle Against Online IP Piracy (pdf) Weatherley says:
Warnings and fines are obvious first steps, with internet access blocking and custodial sentencing for persistent and damaging infringers not to be ruled out in my opinion (one for a later discussion paper no doubt!).
This is not the first time Weatherley has argued for non-commercial downloaders to be subject to criminal penalties similar to those applicable to commercial infringement operations. During a Commons debate on the UK’s Intellectual Property Bill (now the Intellectual Property Act 2014), he said that “ultimately, we need to consider withdrawing internet rights from lawbreakers, along with imposing fines and, as a last resort, custodial sentences”. On this occasion, Helen Goodman MP stepped in to counter this extreme position.
It is important that we distinguish between 14-year-olds in their bedrooms downloading two or three Justin Bieber tracks on to an iPod and people who make multi-billion pound businesses out of providing illegal material. It is not right to treat the two groups in the same way.
For more information see: ‘Failed’ Piracy Letters Should Escalate to Fines & Jail, MP Says - Torrentfreak