Is there an offence of possessing pirated DVDs?

30 August 2017

Is there an offence of possessing pirated DVDs, where there is no evidence to suggest the person has been selling them?

Section 107 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (document D107 on PNLD) provides the offences in relation to breaching copyright. The following link outlines the various offences under this section:

The offences relate to distributing and importing copyrighted material without a licence. As far as we are aware, there is no offence of simply possessing such material. The only references in the legislation to possession relate to possessing such material in the course of a business with a view to committing an act infringing the copyright (s.107(1)(c)), and possessing an article specifically designed or adapted for making copies of a particular copyright work (s.107(2)(b)).

You should note that section 32 of the Digital Economy Act 2017 will be making changes to section 107:

The explanatory notes in relation to this section state:

'Section 32: Offences: infringing copyright online and making available right
Sections 107 (2A) and 198 (1A) of the 1988 Act provided a maximum two-year sentence for online copyright infringement and infringement of a performer's making available right. The Act amends the maximum sentence for both offences to ten years. The Act also amends offence provisions to introduce an additional mens rea so that a person must either intend to make a monetary gain for himself or another, or know or have reason to believe that his actions will cause loss to the owner of the right or expose the owner to a risk of loss. The Act also replaces the pre-existing concept of 'prejudicial effect' with more precise notions of 'gain' and 'loss' in money.'

This change is being brought in force on 1 October 2017 by SI 2017/765, regulation 3(a):

PNLD will be updated when the legislation is in force.


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