IP Adviser says ‘Follow the Money’

Mike Weatherley, Intellectual Property Adviser to British Prime Minister David Cameron, has published a report – Follow the Money: Financial Options To Assist In The Battle Against Online IP Piracy – which addresses the detrimental impact of illegal websites profiting from advertising.

In his capacity as David Cameron’s Intellectual Property Adviser, Weatherley has been keen to cut off funding that is fuelling pirate websites that profit from advertising. The report analyses the issue and makes a number of recommendations.

Key recommendations include:
Increasing funding for the national Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU);
Exploring the utility of advertising monitor software to ensure compliance of advertising codes;
Requesting that PIPCU and the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) consider what additional legislation is necessary to require pre-emptive action by advertisers and payment providers.

Weatherley has also recently published a report – Search Engines and Piracy – which outlines the shortcomings of search engine providers in the fight against online piracy.

According to Weatherley, following the money is the key to shutting down the vast majority of websites that host illegal material. “This report explores a number of issues surrounding the piracy debate and I hope that it will spur further discussion both in the UK and, given the international nature of this problem, in other countries across the world,” he declared.

“As the Intellectual Property Adviser to the Prime Minister, I feel that it is my role to highlight just how damaging piracy is to the UK economy. It is paramount that we curb advertising revenue that is going to pirates who are, in turn, seriously damaging our creative industries,” he averred.

Prime Minister Cameron said the discussion paper was an interesting addition to an important area of work and confirmed that the Government would look at it closely. “It is encouraging that creative industries are building a stronger relationship with our enforcement bodies, such as the new national Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit that the Government has established. Intellectual Property is an important property right that contributes enormously to our economy,” he stated.

City of London Police Commander and Police National Coordinator for Economic Crime, Steve Head, said that disrupting revenue to pirate websites was vital to combating online intellectual property piracy and he welcomed the recommendations in the report. “We must take the profit out of this type of criminality and where legitimate companies, such as payment providers, are facilitating that profit they must be held to account if they fail to act,” he asserted.

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