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The UK’s Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit has arrested a man in the East Midlands city of Nottingham on suspicion of running an ‘umbrella’ website providing access to other websites which have been subject to legal blocking orders.
The 20-year-old man was questioned by detectives from the City of London Police unit at a local police station before later being released on bail.
The operation, supported by the Federation Against Copyright Theft, uncovered evidence of the proxy server providing access to 36 other websites that had been blocked for offering illegal or infringing content. The domain names of these sites have been voluntarily handed to police and the related web pages now show a police warning banner.
The arrest is part of the City of London Police unit’s ongoing drive to clamp down on websites providing access to illegal or infringing content, known as Operation Creative. Last week, it was announced that PIPCU is replacing advertising on copyright infringing websites with official force banners, warning the user that the site is currently under criminal investigation.
Head of PIPCU, Detective Chief Inspector Andy Fyfe, said the operation highlighted how PIPCU, working in partnership with the creative and advertising industries, was targeting every aspect of how copyrighting material is illegally being made available to Internet users. We will come down hard on people believed to be committing or deliberately facilitating such offences,” he declared.
Kieron Sharp, Director General of the Federation Against Copyright Theft, advised that for some years, the film and music industries in the UK had been making applications to the High Court for orders requiring the major UK ISPs (Internet Service Providers) to block websites providing access to illegal or infringing content, in particular films and music. “Invariably these sites exist in foreign jurisdictions where it is difficult or impossible to take other legal action to prevent their continuing operation. Once the site-blocking orders commenced, Internet users have sought ways to continue to access the sites by getting round the blocking put in place by the ISPs. One of the ways to do this is to use proxy servers. This operation is a major step in tackling those providing such services. FACT will continue to support PIPCU in their enforcement activities” he stated.