Detectives from the UK’s Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) have arrested a man at his Reading home on suspicion of operating a website that was illegally selling music albums, singles and films. This early morning operation, which followed a referral from PRS for Music is the third arrest made by City of London Police’s Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) since its launch last month. The 33-year-old man is believed to have been using a website to sell discs containing music and films, which he does not hold the copyright licence for, for a small fee of only a few pounds. Each disc can contain up to 40 music albums and is estimated to be worth hundreds of pounds. The man was taken to a local police station for further questioning by PIPCU officers and subsequently an agreement was reached to transfer the control of the website to City of London Police.
Detective Inspector Stirling, from PIPCU, said: “Today’s arrest forms part of just one of the many investigations PIPCU is currently pursuing. Since the launch of PIPCU we have seen a wide range of businesses come forward with referrals for the unit and today’s operation shows how this information can swiftly be turned into live investigations and arrests. We urge any UK organisation who believes they may be victim to intellectual property crime in the UK or overseas, to get in touch and submit evidence to the unit so we can get right to work.”
A spokesperson for PRS for Music said:“We welcome the establishment of the new Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) and will be working closely with them to ensure that member’s rights are protected. Today’s action is a positive step forward in tackling those individuals and companies who profit from the theft of their music.”
The Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) has been set up to protect UK industries that produce legitimate, high quality, physical goods and online and digital content. The operationally independent unit is initially being funded – £2.56m over two by the Intellectual Property Office, which is part of the Department for Business Innovation. In the next two years PIPCU will be working with a wide range of national and international partners from public authorities and private industry to build a comprehensive UK policing response to the threat of online intellectual property crime. The unit will also be focused on influencing online behaviour by site owners, service providers and consumers through education, prevention and enforcement activity, and providing offenders where appropriate with opportunities to accept restorative justice.