The City of London Police special task force tasked with investigating and arresting offenders suspected of Intellectual Property crimes has made its first arrests.
Two men from Birmingham were arrested today for possessing thousands of pirated and counterfeit DVDs by the new Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU). The PIPCU enforces criminal law sanctions that are applied to misuse of intellectual property. The bulk of its actions are focused on counterfeit DVDs and CDs, as well as illegal downloads of digital materials. A referral had been made to Police from the Federation against Copyright Theft (FACT). Detectives seized DVDs with an estimated sale value of £40,000, with titles including Game of Thrones, CSI and Vampire Diaries. The suspects, aged 29 and 28, were taken to a local police station for questioning. The Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) has been set up to protect UK industries that produce legitimate, high quality, physical goods and online and digital content. Businesses are currently losing hundreds of millions of pounds to organised crime each year.The unit is being initially funded - £2.56m over two years - by the Intellectual Property Office, which is part of the Department for Business Innovation Skills, with the operationally independent 19-strong team based at the City of London Police Economic Crime Directorate.
Following the arrests City of London Police Commissioner Adrian Leppard said, “The world of crime is constantly evolving and the formation of the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit is further evidence that police, Government and industry are committed to protecting the UK from both established and emerging threats, many of which are now operating from online platforms.“Intellectual property crime is already costing our economy hundreds of millions of pounds a year and placing thousands of jobs under threat, and left unchecked and free to feed on new technology could destroy some of our most creative and productive industries.“Launching PIPCU we are making a statement of intent and sending out a clear warning to organised crime that the UK has just become a more hostile place for those who seek to make criminal capital on the back of others’ honest endeavours.” Minister for Intellectual Property, Lord Younger said: "Criminals are continually finding new ways to exploit, produce fakes and abuse the intellectual property rights of British businesses, despite the progress made combating IP crime. It not only damages the UK economy, but substandard goods and services can pose real threats to consumers too. Intelligent, co-ordinated and effective enforcement is a key to tackling those who exploit the hard work of others."Stopping the growth of online piracy and counterfeit goods in the UK is one of my main priorities. The new IP crime unit, funded by the IPO and launched today by the City of London Police, will make a real difference in the fight against online IP crime."Working with the City of London Police, which has recognised expertise in tackling economic crime, demonstrates this Government's commitment to supporting business, protecting consumers and delivering economic growth. I look forward to seeing the results that this unit will deliver over the next two years."There was no comment on whether or not the Police will be investigating rights groups for not paying artist royalties on anti-piracy ad
or whether Police will be investigating the “font theft”
used on the UK government’s infamous ‘Go Home’ vans.