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Police arrest British man for running pirate proxy server

A Nottingham man, believed to be running a proxy server designed to bypass illegal pirate site blocks has been arrested.

The 20-year-old, who hasn’t been named, was questioned by detectives from the City of London Police before being released on bail, for allowing access to 36 websites that had been blocked for offering copyright-infringing content.

The arrest was part of the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit’s (PIPCU) Operation Creative initiative, that sets out to bring down websites providing access to websites offering illegal content downloads. 

The City of London Police is cracking down on music pirates
The City of London Police is cracking down on music pirates

Head of PIPCU, Detective Chief Inspector Andy Fyfe, said: “This week’s operation highlights how PIPCU, working in partnership with the creative and advertising industries is targeting every aspect of how copyrighting material is illegally being made available to internet users.”

Other initiatives under Operation Creative include placing pop-up ads on copyright-infringing websites to warn users the sites are under investigation and asking hosting providers to take the sites down.

He said PIPCU will come down hard on people who partake in such activities and used this as an example of the severity of piracy.

Numerous proxy servers sprang up last year as UK ISPs were served court orders to block illegal file-sharing sites like The Pirate Bay (PirateProxy), Watch32 and zMovies, forcing authorities into a cat-and-mouse game of blocking the workarounds.

Kieron Sharp, director general of the Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT) said stopping those operating the proxy servers is a step in the right direction for copyright owners.

“This operation is a major step in tackling those providing such services. FACT will continue to support PIPCU in their enforcement activities,” ​he said.

Last month, it was announced UK ISPs would be sending out warning letters to serial illegal downloaders as part of the the Voluntary Copyright Alert Programme (VCAP).

Culture Secretary Sajid Javid said: “Copyright is one of the foundations the UK economy is built on. Our creative industries contribute £8 million to the UK economy every hour and we must ensure these businesses can protect their investments. 

“The alert programme shows industry working together to develop solutions to this threat to our creative industries.” 

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