Members of the House of Lords have held their third and final debate on the Digital Economy Bill and made no substantial changes.

The Bill criminalises minor copyright infringement.

The Government says that they only want to increase the penalties for activities like running websites that allow people to download copyrighted content - but that's not what the proposed legislation states.

The offence criminalises infringements where money hasn’t been paid or there is a “risk of loss” - which means nearly anything published online without permission could attract a jail sentence.

It could be filesharing, streaming copyrighted content or something as simple as sending or reposting a gif with a Disney character or your favourite TV show/actors/movies.

Evening Times:

It's no secret that a lot of people are viewing legally infringing content on their Kodi media player.

Kodi is not illegal - it carries no content - but it's open-source nature allows the addition of third-party add-ons giving users access to potentially legally infringing content which is shared or streamed from other users around the globe. 

But the problem with Kodi is that a lot of the content is illegally taken from digital subscription providers such as Sky, Netflix and BT Sport.

Those who use the Kodi platform to access paid-for content for free would be taking a serious risk.

Evening Times:

In the final reading of the Digital Economy Bill, the UK Government resisted suggestions made by the Open Rights Group (ORG) to limit criminal sanctions to “criminal scale” infringements or serious risks of “criminal scale” infringement.

This means that any intentional infringement is classed as a criminal matter.

While minor infringements may not be brought to court, it makes it impossible to know when something might attract a criminal charge.

For individuals, the risk of “copyright trolls” can only increase.

Copyright trolls are legal firms that often send out warning letters to people who have NEVER downloaded, uploaded or streamed legally infringing content. 

The trolls threaten court action unless the individual pays a large sum of money to go away.

If copyright trolls can tell people they could go to prison for 10 years, it will frighten more into paying - whether they have done anything wrong or not.