Federal Penalties for Downloading Pirated Movies

By AlanS

Stealing movies on the Internet is a serious crime. When you "pirate" a film off the Web, you are committing copyright infringement if you download the movie without the consent of the copyrighted material's owner. Whether the film is being used for personal entertainment or financial gain, the user is taking a huge risk, as there are federal penalties for this crime.

Misdemeanor Conviction

If you're convicted of a misdemeanor for pirating movies, the penalties are quite severe. You could end up serving a year in prison for the infraction. The law also says the convicted person will pay a fine of up to $100,000 or two times the financial gain or loss.

Felony Conviction

A felony conviction is much more serious than a misdemeanor. Even a first-time offender could get a maximum sentence of five years' imprisonment. There's also a fine of up to $250,000, or twice the financial gain or loss.

Repeat Offenders

For those who did not learn the first time, the penalty gets worse. A repeat offender will still face the same fine of $250,000 or twice the financial gain or loss. But the prison sentence could double.