Copyright theft and video piracy
Copyright theft and video piracy

The following Corporate Crime guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Copyright theft and video piracy
  • Copyright theft
  • Infringing copyright
  • Enforcement of copyright breaches
  • Sentencing for copyright offences
  • Background to the Video Recordings Acts 2010 and 1984
  • Enforcement of Video Recordings Act 1984 breaches
  • Offences under the Video Recordings Act 1984
  • Offences under the Trade Marks Act 1994

Copyright theft

Theft of copyright is criminalised by the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (CDPA 1988), the Trade Marks Act 1994 (TMA 1994) and the Video Recordings Act 1984 (VRA 1984). It may also be prosecuted under the Fraud Act 2006 (FrA 2006) or as a conspiracy under the Criminal Law Act 1977 or under the common law conspiracy to defraud. See Practice Note: Conspiracy.

Copyright theft may be prosecuted by the Crown Prosecution Service or trading standards. Investigations may involve HM Revenue and Customs, the UK Border Agency and the National Crime Agency.

Most offences under CDPA 1988 (those in CDPA 1988, ss 107(1)(a)–107(1)(b), 107(1)(d)(iv) and 107(1)(e)) are either-way offences, ie they may be tried both in the magistrates' court and the Crown Court. These are viewed as more serious offences as they involve making, importing for rental or sale, or distributing items through a business or otherwise, that would affect the owner of the copyright prejudicially. The offence of infringing copyright in a work by communicating the work to the public either in the course of a business or otherwise, under CDPA 1988, s 107(2A) is also triable either in the magistrates' court or the Crown Court. The remaining offences are summary only.

Infringing copyright

Infringing copyright is defined in the statute as:

'…an article is an infringing