Online copyright infringement can be an imprisonable offence. It is dealt with by virtue of the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 and in particular s107(2A) (communicating work to the public in the course of a business, or to an extent prejudicially affecting the copyright owner) and s198(1A) (infringing a performerÂs making available right in a recording in the course of a business, or to an extent prejudicially affecting the owner of such right). Contrast this with the maximum sentence for the theft of physical goods which is 10!
Our beloved government is considering making the offence of online infringement the same and the UKIPO initiated a consultation exercise which received 1,032 responses to the consultation.
The report is here