Originally Posted by murraypaul
In fact I think Harry's original claim:
is incorrect for the UK. There is a separate criminal offence, which requires at least one of the following:
Copyright infringement is illegal with or without a commercial motive. The charges just differ between a criminal offence which is handled by the police vs a civil offence where the author/company (copyright holder) involved needs to take you to court (afaik).
There are provisions for legally making copies, but in some ways they're out dated and in need of an overhaul.
The kind of piracy we frequently debate on this forum tends to fall into the civil category. Which is good and bad. It's good because you're incredibly unlikely to see anyone pursue a court case over someone ripping a cd to mp3 or format shifting their ebooks, even if they're not letter of the law correct. But, it also means there's no real way for authors/companies to obtain sufficient amounts of proof* to make the kinds of fines people do get reasonable. Only way to do that would be to make it a criminal offence and that opens a whole can of worms
* I mean in terms of amount of proof that you can be sure the person been fined is correct. Not the amount needed to win the case, which tends to be lower in civil cases since there's no reasonable doubt, but it's balance of probabilities or something along those lines.