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Global Media and Communications Watch The International Legal Blog for the Tech, Media and Telecoms Industry
Posted in Copyright, Entertainment & Content, Internet Mark Taylor

UK launches new police unit to tackle online piracy and counterfeits

The UK Government has announced the launch of a new police unit aimed at targeting intellectual property crime. In particular, the unit will be focused on tackling online piracy and other forms of intellectual property crime such as counterfeit goods.

The intention to set up the unit was originally announced last December. This more recent announcement confirms:

  • details of the unit’s funding for the next 2 years – the UK Intellectual Property Office will provide £2.5 million in funding over that period
  • its location – the unit will be established and run within the City of London Police, which is the lead police force in the UK for fraud, to establish and run the unit.

It is expected the unit will be up and running in September 2013.  The hope is that, longer term, funding for the unit will come from the music, film and gaming industry.

The main criticism levelled is that the unit’s funding is dwarfed by the size of the problem: around 7 million people a month visit sites offering illegal content in the UK, and globally it is thought that digitally pirated music, films and software account for losses of around US$80bn.   However, the unit’s tactics will be to target the sources of revenue for illegal sites – namely by approaching advertisers and payment processors and requesting that they cease working with sites identified by the unit.