London police arrested a man this week in connection with running a so-called umbrella website providing access to websites blocked for illegal or copyright infringing content.
According to the City of London police website, the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) arrested the 20-year-old man in Nottingham. He was questioned by detectives at a local police station prior to his release on bail.
“This week’s operation highlights how PIPCU, working in partnership with the creative and advertising industries is targeting every aspect of how copyrighting material is illegally being made available to internet users,” head of PIPCU, detective chief inspector Andy Fyfe said. “We will come down hard on people believed to be committing or deliberately facilitating such offences.”
The man allegedly ran a proxy server which provided access to 36 websites that had been blocked for offering illegal or infringing content, according to police. The sites now show a police warning banner after the domains were voluntarily handed to police.
According to police, the arrest is part of a larger initiative, called Operation Creative, in cracking down on websites offering illegal or infringing content.
“For some years the film and music industries in the UK have been making applications to the High Court for orders requiring the major UK ISPs to block websites providing access to illegal or infringing content, in particular films and music. Invariably these sites exist in foreign jurisdictions where it is difficult or impossible to take other legal action to prevent their continuing operation,” director general of the Federation Against Copyright Theft Kieron Sharp said.
“Once the site-blocking orders commenced, internet users have sought ways to continue to access the sites by getting round the blocking put in place by the ISPs,” Sharp said. “One of the ways to do this is to use proxy servers. This operation is a major step in tackling those providing such services. FACT will continue to support PIPCU in their enforcement activities.”
In 2015, British ISPs will start sending users who repeatedly download pirated material written warnings as part of a consumer awareness campaign run by Creative Content UK, a partnership between ISPs and rights-holders groups.