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City Of London Police threaten operators of piracy sites with prosecution

By | Published on Thursday 6 June 2013

City Of London Police

The City Of London Police have started contacting websites that they believe are profiting by providing access to unlicensed content, threatening the operators of said sites with prosecution for copyright crimes, which could result in jail sentences.

The move is part of an initiative by the music and movie industries to focus more of their anti-piracy efforts against those individuals who profit from running online services that routinely and deliberately infringe copyright. The City Of London Police have previously worked with the International Federation Of The Phonographic Industry to pressure credit card firms to stop taking monies on behalf of infringing operations, while the UK’s Serious Organised Crime Agency has previously targeted piracy sites operating within its jurisdiction.

The criminal element of copyright, where infringers are prosecuted rather than sued by rights owners, tends to kick in where infringement occurs on an industrial level for tangible profit. The infringers can be charged with both copyright crimes and conspiracy to defraud, the latter of which carries tougher sentences. Though prosecutors do need to show an intention to profit, especially with the fraud charges, which was something that caused the key prosecution against the operator of the OiNK file-sharing community to fail.

In the latest developments, the City Of London Police are working with the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau and reps of the film and record industries. They have reportedly written to two websites, demanding the operators of said sites contact police by 14 Jun or face further action.

In a statement the City’s police force said: “These websites are able to operate and profit from advertising on their sites without having licenses or paying the creators and owners of the films, TV programmes, music and publications. Intellectual property crime is a serious offence that is costing the UK economy hundreds of millions of pounds each year”.

It’s not known which sites are being targeted in this latest initiative, though they will be operating within the UK borders.

As previously reported, while the music industry continues to put pressure on internet service providers to help stop individual web users from accessing unlicensed content – via warning letters and web-blocking – anti-piracy chatter has been increasingly focused of late on going after the relatively small number of websites prolifically infringing, or cutting off their revenue streams where they operate outside the reach of friendly courts.