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IP police offer advertisers list of infringing websites

The IP crime unit within the City of London Police has created a list of copyright-infringing websites it wants online advertisers to avoid

It has launched the Infringing Website List (IWL) following a three-month pilot involvingmusic industry groups IFPI and BPI, the Federation Against Copyright Theft, the Publishers Association, and online advertising industry groups ISBA, IPA and IAB UK.

The initiative is designed to attack the revenue sources of the businesses behind infringing sites.

Andy Fyfe, head of the Police IP Crime Unit, said: “If an advert from an established brand appears on an infringing website not only does it lend the site a look of legitimacy, but inadvertently the brand and advertiser are funding online crime. Therefore the IWL also serves as a safety tool, ensuring the reputation of advertisers and brands are not discredited through association with illegal websites.”

The Unit says that the list of websites is an online portal of sites identified by the creative industries and verified by the police that can be used by advertisers and agencies when they are deciding where to place their adverts.

The IWL was today the subject of a freedom of information request, with the police asked to reveal which websites have so far been removed from the List, as result of, for example, compliance with copyright laws.

The European Commission is trying to encourage brand owners and advertisers to develop a similar EU-wide list. In an interview with Managing IP, Kerstin Jorna, head of the IP team within DG Internal Market, said she wanted her officials to tackle the business models used by copyright infringers.

“In 2014 we want to follow the money,” she said.

But not all brand owners have been quick to support the Commission’s plans for an MOU to create what would effectively be a blacklist of IP-infringing sites. The Commission says that while some gave it a positive reaction at the November meeting, others had either questioned the importance of the problem for them in particular or had been unaware of the problem.

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