City of London unveils intellectual property crime fighting unit following arrests

The City of London Police has launched a unit dedicated to fighting intellectual property crime and cracking down on copyright theft in the UK.

The BBC reported the launch of the new unit following the arrest of two men who are suspected of importing £40,000 of counterfeit DVDs in Birmingham on Friday 13 September.

According to the BBC, the unit of 19 officers will work alongside international agencies, including the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security in the US, to combat online copyright theft with trained offers working on tip-offs and actively browsing for websites offering illegal downloads and goods.

Sites found to be pushing illegal downloads or goods will see their server host pressured into removing the site, while advertisers will also be targeted.

The Drum revealed in December 2012 that City of London Police had begun working with the UK advertising industry on Operation Tradebridge, to identify and create a list of illegal third-party websites, led by the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau and involving industry bodies such as the British Recorded Music Industry (BPI), the Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT) and The Publishers Association (PA).

The project has been highly secretive, with the BBC report the first time a mainstream media publication has covered plans by the City of London Police to combat online copyright infringement, with talks understood to be ongoing, with many of the biggest advertising companies operating in the UK to help advertisers and trading desks avoid marketing on illegal sites.