While many Britons were enjoying the bank holiday weekend, the City of London’s Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit was busy seizing domain names for copyright-infringing websites. There are reports as many as 10,000 domain names were seized.
The Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) was busy contacting a number of registrars hosting copyright infringing content as part of Operation Creative, and as a result several major copyright infringing website have closed down.
The operation, called Operation Creative, is a ground-breaking initiative is designed to disrupt and prevent websites from providing unauthorised access to copyrighted content, in partnership with the creative and advertising industries.
One of the domains suspended was torrentz.eu, one of the domains for the largest torrent search engine on the internet with over one million visitors per day, reported Torrent Freak.
“The actions of the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit are not without controversy. While some registrars are willing to cooperate, Canada-based easyDNS previously refused to comply and successfully defended its customers.
“Correct me if I’m wrong, but I always thought it was something that gets decided in a court of law, as opposed to ‘some guy on the internet’ sending emails,” easyDNS’ CEO Mark Jeftovic earlier told Torrent Freak. “While that’s plenty reason enough for some registrars to take down domain names, it doesn’t fly here.”
But the suspension lasted only one day with Torrent Freak reporting in a separate story that “the site’s Polish registrar restored the domain name’s DNS entries after Torrentz’ legal team pointed out that the suspension was unlawful.”
As part of Operation Creative, rights holders in the creative industries identify and report copyright infringing websites to PIPCU, providing a detailed package of evidence indicating how the site is involved in illegal copyright infringement. Officers from PIPCU then evaluate the websites and verify whether they are infringing copyright. At the first instance of a website being confirmed as providing copyright infringing content, the site owner is contacted by officers at PIPCU and offered the opportunity to engage with the police, to correct their behaviour and to begin to operate legitimately.
If a website fails to comply and engage with the police, then a variety of other tactical options may be used including; contacting the domain registrar informing them of the criminality and seeking suspension of the site and disrupting advertising revenue through the use of an Infringing Website List (IWL) available to those involved in the sale and trading of digital advertising.
The IWL, the first of its kind to be developed, is an online portal providing the digital advertising sector with an up-to-date list of copyright infringing sites, identified and evidenced by the creative industries and verified by the City of London Police unit. The aim of the IWL is that advertisers, agencies and other intermediaries will use it as a brand safety tool and cease advert placement on these illegal websites.