A LONDON POLICE UNIT charged with protecting intellectual property is writing to domain registrars and asking them to take down suspected filesharing websites.
The Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) and City of London Police have written to at least one firm already.
EasyDNS has gone public with the missive it received and revealed that the police gave it a cosy nudge towards playing along.
The letter apparently is the second one that EasyDNS received, but it appears to have ignored the first one.
"On the 24th September 2013, EasyDNS Technologies was emailed a domain suspension request for the following domain(s) that to date we have not received a reply nor seen action taken," it said.
"The domain(s) continues to be accessible by members of the public and is still making illicit financial gains for the criminals operating it. It would be appreciated if you would respond either positively or negatively to this request confirming if you will assist Police in preventing this ongoing crime."
We have asked the City of London Police to confirm the authenticity of the message.
In a statement it said that it has started an initiative in this area, and is looking at disrupting sites that look to gain from copyrighted material. It added that it is working with outfits including the Federation Against Copyright Theft and the British Recorded Music industry.
"These websites are able to operate and profit from advertising or other income on their sites without having licenses or paying the creators and owners of the films, TV programmes, music and publications. The initiative also seeks to protect consumers from malware and other harmful programs that may be downloaded unwittingly from sites that provide illegally offered content," it said in a statement.
"Intellectual property crime is a serious offence that is costing the UK economy hundreds of millions of pounds each year."
EasyDNS said that it has not taken down the website in question and has asked the police to get a court order.
A court order is what is required if rights companies want to get a service provider like Virgin Media to shut off access to a filesharing website, and it appears that the PIPCU wants to leap over this part of the process.
Documents attached with the letter convey a veiled threat that if EasyDNS does not play ball then it will be removed from the registrar's database maintained by ICANN.
While EasyDNS claims not to have removed the website its address now points to a warning about copyright and includes advice on the most legitimate places to get content.
"You have tried to access a website that is under criminal investigation by the UK Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU)," it said. "This site is being investigated for online copyright infringement." µ
It's time for our regular two-step through the Google news
Bug bounty offer: accepted