Copyright criminal offences

The following IP practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Copyright criminal offences
  • Offences under section 107
  • Making or dealing with infringing articles
  • Knowledge
  • Directors
  • E-Commerce Regulations 2002
  • Private prosecution
  • Technological measures and decoders
  • Circumventing technological measures
  • Fraudulent reception and decoders
  • More...

Copyright criminal offences

For offences that have more of a public policy angle such as those involving counterfeit goods and piracy, it is possible to bring criminal as well as civil proceedings. The majority of infringements that are dealt with by criminal offences are those with commercial purposes. However, even then, copyright owners are usually more likely to choose to bring civil than criminal proceedings, not least because the standard of proof is more of a hurdle for the prosecution in criminal cases (but note that if a permitted act is relied on as a defence, the balance of probabilities burden prevails on the defendant). A copyright owner must also prove knowledge or reason to believe in criminal claims even for primary infringements. It is for the copyright owner to decide which proceedings to bring and the court cannot re-allocate the claim after proceedings have been issued. It is often quicker to obtain an injunction in civil proceedings, damages can be obtained and the copyright owner is more in control of the case. On the other hand, the copyright owner can incur significant costs in civil proceedings which, if taken to trial, can last many more months than criminal proceedings.

A potential claimant may consider bolstering their negotiating position by pointing out criminal sanctions (see below) in a letter before action to alleged copyright infringers. However,

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