The UK’s Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU), an organisation specialising in tackling illegal activity online, has received another round of government funding that keeps it running for at least two more years.
A spokesperson for the UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO) confirmed that it has agreed to provide £3.3 million ($4.2 million) between now and June 30, 2019.
PIPCU’s funding has now increased twice since it was launched in 2013 with £2.5 million worth of government money. A year later, the unit extended the deal until 2017 and received another £3 million.
By June 2019, it will have received nearly £9 million.
The IPO spokesperson said the money will ensure PIPCU can continue its “excellent work in fighting IP crime across the UK”.
One of PIPCU’s earliest achievements was the launch of ‘Operation Creative’, a scheme designed to disrupt websites providing unauthorised access to copyrighted material. As part of the project, the ‘Infringing Websites List’ was created to provide details of illicit sites so that brands can remove their adverts from them.
A busy 2017 kicked off with a visit by PIPCU officers to numerous organisations notifying them that their adverts had been placed on piracy websites.
In February, the unit was part of an operation in which five people were arrested following an investigation into the illegal sale of TV set-top box devices.
A month later PIPCU revealed research by data company WhiteBullet showing that over the previous year, advertising from the UK’s top advert-spending companies on piracy sites had fallen by 64%.
April saw the start of a joint initiative with the International AntiCounterfeiting Coalition to target online counterfeiters by terminating merchant accounts that illicit websites use to receive payments.
In the same month, PIPCU launched an online directory designed to boost the ability of law enforcement to tackle IP crime. The website works as a database for customs and police officers worldwide to identify counterfeit goods, with information uploaded by brand owners.
More recently, in June, another batch of WhiteBullet research revealed positive findings on advertising and piracy. The data showed there had been an 87% drop in advertising from licensed gambling operators on illegal sites in the previous 12 months.
PIPCU is based at the City of London Police, and in 2014 TBO visited the headquarters to learn more about its work. You can read the interview here.
PIPCU, Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit, trademark, copyright, piracy, counterfeiting, UK Intellectual Property Office, funding