THE POLICE UNIT set up by City of London police to tackle the growing problems of illegal downloading and fake media has made its first arrests.
In Birmingham, counterfeit DVD box sets worth around £40,000 were seized as two men were arrested on suspicion of creating the counterfeit box sets and selling them as the real thing.
However, the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU), which will receive funding from the UK Treasury of £2.56m over the next two years, has a brief wider than fake copies of Sex In The City II. The unit has its focus on the seven million people who allegedly download media content illegally in the UK every month, which the media industry cartels claim costs their members around £51bn per year, a figure that they have warned could triple by 2015.
Lord Younger, the minister for intellectual property - and no, we didn't know there was one either - said, "Criminals are continually finding new ways to exploit, produce fakes and abuse the intellectual property rights of British businesses, despite the progress made combating intellectual property crime.
"It not only damages the UK economy, but substandard goods and services can pose real threats to consumers too. Intelligent, co-ordinated and effective enforcement is key to tackling those who exploit the hard work of others."
PIPCU launched on Friday and wasted no time in making its presence felt. We can imagine that a specialist crime unit aimed at downloaders might put a lot of people off, but only time will tell. µ
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