The City of London’s Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) has suspended more than 50,000 websites for selling counterfeit goods since its inception in 2013.
Through Operation Ashiko, an initiative between PIPCU and British domain name registry Nominet to tackle criminal activity on .uk addresses, PIPCU has taken down 22,084 clothing websites and 15,975 footwear websites, with 3,591 sites taken down for selling bags, accessories and jewellery.
PIPCU notifies Nominet that a domain is being used for criminal activity and, after carrying out administrative checks, Nominet works with the registry to suspend the domain.
In November last year, PIPCU revealed that it had closed more than 1,000 “illicit websites” per month between November 2016 and 2017. It took down 13,616 websites in that time, an increase of almost 80% on the preceding 12-month period, when 7,617 websites were removed.
Nicholas Court, temporary detective chief inspector at PIPCU, said: “We are extremely proud to have reached 50,000 takedowns with Operation Ashiko; this is a testament to the hard work of our team in tackling IP crime.”
He added that consumers who make purchases on illicit sites are handing over their personal and payment details to criminals who often use these to commit further crime.
Ros Lynch, director of copyright and enforcement at the UK Intellectual Property Office, said: “It’s great to hear that thousands of websites have been taken down due to partners working together globally to fight against intellectual property crime, in particular PIPCU and Nominet, who have had great success in the UK.”
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