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UK police are replacing ads on piracy sights with legal warnings

UK police have started replacing ads on websites that provide access to pirated or copyright infringing material with warnings to web users that the site is on a watch list — and a call for them to close the browser page in question. The initiative, called Operation Creative, is being carried out by the City of London Police’s Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) and follows a call by the unit, back in April, for advertisers to get behind a plan to tackle IP related crime by helping disrupt piracy sites’ access to ad revenue.

The City of London police has started placing banner advertisements on websites believed to be offering pirated content illegally. The messages, which will appear instead of paid-for ads, will ask users to close their web browsers. The move comes as part of a continuing effort to stop piracy sites from earning money through advertising. Police said the ads would make it harder for piracy site owners to make their pages look authentic. “When adverts from well known brands appear on illegal websites, they lend them a look of legitimacy and inadvertently fool consumers into thinking the site is authentic,” said Detective Chief Inspector Andy Fyfe from the City of London Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (Pipcu). “This new initiative is another step forward for the unit in tackling IP crime and disrupting criminal profits. “Copyright infringing websites are making huge sums of money though advert placement, therefore disrupting advertising on these sites is crucial and this is why it is an integral part of Operation Creative.”

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