London Police begins replacing ad banners on piracy sites with warnings

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London Police has begun replacing paid banner ads on websites offering pirated contents with official messages warning users to exit such websites.

The Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU), run by the City of London Police, is working in collaboration with content verification technology provider Project Sunblock, to cease piracy sites from earning money through big-brand advertising.

As part of the ongoing campaign – Operation Creative, PIPCU’s Operation Sunblock, is aimed at removing existing adverts appearing on copyright infringing websites and replacing them with pop-ups alarming users that the website is under investigation by the City of London Police unit for copyright infringement and that they need to exit the websites immediately.

The sites targeted are identified and reported to PIPCU by copyrights holders with details of websites involved in illegal copyright infringement. Unit officers evaluate the websites to verify if they infringe copyright. The PIPCU then contact the owners of the accused websites and offer them an opportunity to collaborate with the police and choose to operate legitimately.

If in case a website fails to comply with the UK police guidelines, the authority may opt to undertake other strict measures including suspension of the site from the domain registrar, advert replacement and disrupting advertising revenue through the use of the Infringing Website List (IWL).

Head of PIPCU, Detective Chief Inspector Andy Fyfe said the new initiative put forward by the unit is aimed at tackling IP crime and disrupting criminal profits. Many copyright infringing websites make huge sums of money through advertising and disrupting advertising on these sites will affect their revenue source, Fyfe added.

He also said that this step will also help protect consumers who are fooled by illegal websites of their authenticity by displaying adverts from well-known brands.