The UK Government and the Intellectual Property Office (UK-IPO) are consulting on plans, which would allow Magistrates' Courts in England and Wales to issue summary fines of £50,000 for online copyright infringement. The larger fine is proposed for commercial scale infringements, where the person involved profits from the infringement.
The plan would implement another of the recommendations of the Gowers Review of Intellectual Property, the 2006 report by former Financial Times editor Andrew Gowers which has been the foundation of intellectual property policy since its publication.
"This consultation takes forward Gowers Review recommendation 36, which recommended matching penalties for online and physical copyright infringement by increasing sanctions for online infringements," said the UK-IPO in a statement.
The courts in Scotland and Northern Ireland operate differently from those in England and Wales, and there is no equivalent sentencing guideline system there, but the consultation suggests that those courts could still implement maximum fines (para 14 of the Executive Summary).
See the full story at Outlaw.
The consultation is open until 31 October. You can take a look at the consultation paper here. The questions they are consulting on are:
- Do you think that POCA already provides an effective means of depriving offenders of the profits from IP crime?
- Should exceptional summary maxima be introduced for all copyright offences in the CDPA?
- Do you agree that one level (not to exceed £50,000) of exceptional statutory maxima should be set for all offences in the CDPA?
- Do you have any general comments on how the magistrates’ courts deal with copyright offences?
- Do you think that different levels of exceptional statutory maxima should be set for the various copyright offences?
- Do you think exceptional statutory maxima should be introduced for all IP offences and should different levels be set for the various IP offences?