The Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) at the City of London Police has begun replacing advertising on copyright infringing websites with official force banners, warning the user that the site is currently under criminal investigation.
Working with content verification provider, Project Sunblock, police banners are now replacing a wide range of legitimate brand adverts on infringing websites. The pop-up will inform the user that the website is under investigation by the City of London Police unit for copyright infringement and will advise the user to exit the website.
This is the latest phase of Operation Creative, a pioneering initiative designed to disrupt and prevent websites from providing unauthorised access to copyrighted content, led by PIPCU in partnership with the creative and advertising industries.
The sites where these new banners will feature have been identified and reported to PIPCU by rights holders who provide a detailed package of evidence indicating how the site is involved in illegal copyright infringement.
Officers from the unit evaluate the websites and verify whether they are infringing copyright. The site owner is contacted by PIPCU and offered the opportunity to begin to operate legitimately.
If a website fails to comply and engage with the police a variety of other tactical options may then be used including; seeking suspension of the site from the domain registrar, advert replacement and disrupting advertising revenue through the use of the Infringing Website List (IWL).