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Illegal Downloads Increase Despite Tougher Penalties

With so many countries signing up to copyright treaties, the risks of being caught for illegal uploading and downloading are increasing. The penalties, already very severe in some countries, are likely to become heavier in the future.


People who share files through download sites may be ignorant of copyrights and illegal download penalties. As more and more countries are taking action to stem the flood of illegal downloads, and the punishments for breaking the relevant laws are steadily increasing, the risks of being prosecuted increase. Ignorance of copyright law is not a valid defense.

When a copyright infringement occurs, there are usually two parties involved in the breach, namely the party who uploads the copyrighted material and the party who downloads it. Making videos or other material available online without the copyright owner’s permission is illegal. Likewise, downloading such material is illegal.
There are 5 main international agreements that deal with copyright issues, and most countries have signed up to at least one of these agreements. Many countries have signed up to two or more of them. Only a handful of states have not signed any of these treaties.
The treaties are designed to protect copyright across international boundaries. For example, a person who breaches an American copyright in France can be prosecuted and fined in France. There is no need for the lawbreaker to be brought to America to face prosecution.
The penalties for illegal downloads vary from one country to the next, but can be quite severe. France has one of the steepest financial penalties at $400,000. In the US, convicted parties can be fined up to $250,0000 while Japan issues fines up to $128,300. In addition, those convicted of illegal downloading could face prison terms.
It should be clear form these figures that breaching copyright through illegal uploading and downloading is a serious offense. Copyright owners and law enforcement authorities are increasing their efforts to bring successful prosecutions.
Yet, despite the widespread signups to copyright treaties, the possibility of spending time in prison, and the greater efforts being undertake to detect and prosecute these crimes, the number of illegal downloads made in many countries continues to rise.
The US has the highest number of illegal download and file shares at almost 100 million. The UK is next with over 43 million. These are followed by Italy, Canada Brazil and Australia, with the latter having over 19 million.
It is fair to assume that most of those who take part in the illegal uploading and downloading of copyrighted material are relatively young. Parents should make sure their children are fully aware of the potential consequences, and should take steps to prevent their kids from breaking the law.

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