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UK copyright cops crush 34 pirates and 3,000 sites in first year

The City of London Police’s anti-piracy squad PIPCU has arrested 34 people and shut down nearly 3,000 illegal sites in its first year. 

PIPCU, short for Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit, was formed to take down file sharing operations based in the UK and clamp down on the sale of counterfeit goods. 

It’s another weapon in the UK’s war on piracy, which includes the biggest ISPs complying with copyright owner-sanctioned court orders to block access to file sharing sites when they’re not sending out letters nicely asking repeat offenders to please stop. How very British. 

An Internet meme, yesterday
An Internet meme, yesterday

As a direct result of its actions PIPCU says that since April 2014, it’s been able to divert more than 2.5 million visits from copyright infringing sites to a domain suspension pages. 

Recently, the unit shut down a live sports streaming operation in Manchester and arrested a Nottingham man in connection with running a proxy server, designed to bypass ISP’s blocking measures

City of London police detective chief inspector and head of PIPCU Danny Medlycott said: “Over the past twelve months PIPCU has gone from strength to strength, successfully targeting, disrupting and dismantling suspected organised crime gangs and lone operators, who we believe have been making hundreds of thousands of pounds and costing UK industries millions. 

“At the same time we have also developed relationships with international and national law enforcement partners including agencies in the US and China, to share best practice and intelligence.”

As well as conducting raids, PIPCU also maintains a list of infringing websites and contacts advertisers who buy adspace, with the intention of hurting pirate operations financially

Other wins for PIPCU on its first birthday include the seizure of £1.29m worth of suspected fake goods over the last 12 months. On this day in 2013, PIPCU arrested two men in Birmingham and recovered counterfeit DVDs with an estimated value of £40,000. 

PIPCU is being funded by over £2.5 million of public money taken from the Intellectual Property Office, part of the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills. PIPCU was announced by business secretary Vince Cable in December 2012. 

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