New Unit to Tackle Online Piracy and Counterfeit Crime

September 15, 2013

A new police unit aimed at targeting intellectual property crime launched on Friday 13 September 2013. The unit is dedicated to tackling online piracy and other forms of intellectual property crime such as counterfeit goods. It is one of the first units of its kind in the world. The Intellectual Property Office is providing £2.5 million in funding over two years to the City of London Police, which is the National Lead Force for fraud, to establish and run the unit.  The setting up of the unit has been welcomed by bodies such as the BPI.  According to the 2012/13 Intellectual Property Office Annual Report, around seven million people per month visit websites offering illegal content in the UK. Recent Ofcom research indicates that every fourth download in the UK infringes copyright.

The anti-piracy unit will employ 19 people and conduct its own investigations, as well as respond to intelligence collected by organisations like the Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT). It will have powers to both seize physical assets and instruct ISPs to prevent access to certain websites. The unit will also work with advertisers to stop them from placing advertisements on websites engaged in illegal activities to disrupt criminal revenue.