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Ever since the Internet has been in existence, there has been a constant battle to prevent websites that facilitate or encourage piracy. The music industry has struggled to curb the problem of online piracy and has often come under fire for some of its efforts to stop this growing trend and many other industries have been affected by the rise in intellectual property theft too.


However, The Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit has now taken action against 74 suspected piracy sites. When a visitor goes to one of the sites they will be greeted by a banner that says “This website has been reported to the Police. Please close the browser page containing this website. Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit”


The police banners will be put on the site in the place of legitimate advertising banners as part of Project Sunblock and a pop up will warn visitors that the site is being investigated by police.


Officers from the unit will contact the website owner and ask them to engage with the police. If they fail to comply, the police will take further action, such as getting the site suspended from the domain registrar.


Commenting in a press release, Head of PIPCU, DCI Andy Fyfe said:


“This new initiative is another step forward for the unit in tackling IP crime and disrupting criminal profits. Copyright infringing websites are making huge sums of money though advert placement, therefore disrupting advertising on these sites is crucial and this is why it is an integral part of Operation Creative.

“This work also helps us to protect consumers. When adverts from well-known brands appear on illegal websites, they lend them a look of legitimacy and inadvertently fool consumers into thinking the site is authentic.”


Torrent Freak contacted the City of London Police to establish how many sites had been affected by this action; the figures were disclosed via a Freedom of Information Request. However, the police refused to disclose the names of the sites that have been affected because they didn’t want to give publicity to them in case it encouraged more people to go and visit.


The campaign has been run in conjunction with some major advertising agencies from the UK and around the world; however, the agencies will not be named as there is a concern that it could encourage cyber-attacks against the advertising agencies involved.


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