Alas for a Fox; for in Twentieth Century Fox v Harris ( EWHC 159 (Ch)) the UK High Court has confirmed that this remedy no longer exists. Following Mr Harris’ defeat in the Newzbin case ( EWHC 608 (Ch)), in which Newzbin were found to have “engaged in a deliberate course of conduct well knowing that the vast majority of the materials in the Movies category … are … likely to be protected by copyright and that the users of Newzbin who download those materials are infringing that copyright”, Mr Harris set up Newzbin2, apparently not having learnt a sufficient lesson the first time. Fox argued that they were entitled to damages on the basis of infringement of a property right – like (unlawfully) selling the copyright owner’s car: Fox should be entitled to claim all the proceeds of sale (without regard, of course, to any costs Mr Harris had incurred). Fairly short shrift was given to the argument. The remedy was abolished by the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 when it no longer provided for conversion damages (section 96).
Copyright owners of course can still rely on an entitlement to damages reflecting the flagrancy of the infringement and in Performing Rights Society Ltd v Burns and another  EWHC 221 (Ch), a fair estimate was assessed at 3 times the charge which would otherwise have been made for use of the copyright work or Beals Mortgage v First Global Financial Services ( EWHC 3761 (QB) para 174, 175) where twice the usual damages was appropriate; or for an account of profits, . This ought to make it unprofitable for the infringer to carry out the infringement. Alternatively, they can turn to the criminal law.