The UK government has been focused on stopping piracy at any and all costs, going as far as to force Internet service providers to block websites like The Pirate Bay, Kickasstorrents and EZTV.
Even though the effect of the piracy bans has been negligible, the government is now focused on making prison sentences even harsher for those that distribute torrents and actively download illegal movies, music and TV shows.
The big jail sentences going upwards of 8 years are only for distributors; those who actively upload illegal content to torrenting websites. People who download the content may have consultation to remind them what they’re doing is illegal.
It follows increased calls for action from the film industry to defend copyrighted material.
Even though the UK has it better than a lot of the European countries, there is still a whole lot of film, TV shows and music that ends up coming late from the United States. That is one of the main reasons people turn to piracy, and is also why networks like HBO have started streaming Game of Thrones at the same day it goes live in the US.
Having films launch two months later in the UK, or iTunes holding off from a UK launch for a week, leads consumers to other sites. Netflix and Spotify have shown with good pricing and flexible options, users will pay for the content.
This has been a back and forth for decades however, and while heavier prison sentences may become scary for distributors, it is unlikely that those distributors are active in the UK. More than likely, like EZTV, it is a secret group that work all over the world.