UK COPYRIGHT FORCE the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) has announced domain name swoops on 40 "illegal websites".
PIPCU is an independent police force funded by the UK government Intellectual Property Office and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.
It said that it laid a smackdown on 40 websites that offered 'pirated' material and 'exposed' users to malware and other scams. Its work was groundbreaking, it said. It got some websites suspended by domain registrars.
The swoops were part of Operation Creative and saw the police work with media content companies on a range of activities, including the disruption of advertising revenues enjoyed by the 'pirate' websites.
It said that the removal of advertising for established brands will have the effect of increasing advertising for explicit material and malware. Apparently it hopes that this will eventually drive users away from such websites.
"FACT is delighted to be working with PIPCU and partners from the advertising, music and publishing sectors to protect UK consumers from websites that promote illegal content and also provide an unsafe platform that puts themselves and their families at risk," piped FACT director general Kieron Sharp. "Many of these sites have no content filters and contain material that is unsuitable for children."
Operation Creative began in this summer and includes the City of London Police, the UK advertising industry, the Incorporated Society of British Advertisers (ISBA) and the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA)) and rights holders, who are represented by Sharp and FACT.
"Operation Creative is being run by PIPCU and the digital and advertising sectors to really get to grips with a criminal industry that is making substantial profits by providing and actively promoting access to illegally obtained and copyrighted material," said PIPCU superintendent Bob Wishart.
"Together we have created a process that first and foremost encourages offenders to change their behaviour so they are operating within the law. However, if they refuse to comply we now have the means to persuade businesses to move their advertising to different platforms and, if offending continues, for registrars to suspend the websites." µ