Is 'illegal downloading' an actual crime in the UK?
June 27, 2014 2:00 PM Subscribe
I live in the US and have followed the RIAA/MPAA suits closely. Over the years I have heard British news agencies report such-and-such as being charged with illegal downloading
and wondered if that were even possible.
posted by Quarter Pincher to Law & Government (4 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I had heard a few American news agencies use the term also and suspect it is a misunderstanding of how file-sharing works (whereas the illegality is actually the uploading, not the downloading), but have been at a loss to determine whether downloading is actually illegal in the UK.
In most, if not all, of the cases in the US in which the MPAA/RIAA filed suit against individuals, file sharing charges specifically rested upon the act of (re-)distribution, and never solely on the action of simply downloading. That is, no one was penalized for the act of mere receipt of files, but were only penalized if their act included sending, making available, or otherwise actually distributing files -- meaning illegal downloading is not actually a thing and instead should be more accurately termed illegal uploading.
My question is whether, in fact, it actually is possible to illegally download (as opposed to upload) files in the UK? I've looked thru an amount of British law data sufficient to make my eyes cross for me, but I'm so disconnected from the general legal system there in general that I wouldn't have very good context to begin with. Is there a straight answer?