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UK unit to tackle online piracy and counterfeit crime

A new police unit aimed at targeting intellectual property crime in the UK has been announced by Intellectual Property Minister, Lord Younger and City of London Police Commissioner, Adrian Leppard (pictured).

The unit will be dedicated to tackling online piracy and other forms of intellectual property crime such as counterfeit goods. It will be one of the first units of its kind in the world, ensuring that the UK stays at the forefront of intellectual property enforcement.

The Intellectual Property Office will provide £2.5 million in funding over two years to the City of London Police, which is the National Lead Force for fraud, to establish and run the unit. It is expected the unit will be up and running in September.

"Intellectual property crime has long been a problem in the world of physical goods, but with the growing use of the internet, online intellectual property crime is now an increasing threat to our creative industries," says Minister for Intellectual Property, Lord Younger. "These industries are worth more than £36 billion a year and employ more than 1.5 million people. [...] Government and our law enforcement agencies must do all they can to protect our creative industries and the integrity of consumer goods."

For his part, Adrian Leppard, Commissioner of the City of London Police, said: "The establishment of a new online intellectual property crime unit is evidence of the Government and City of London Police's commitment to confront this threat. Together we are creating an operationally independent police unit that will co-ordinate the national and international response from law enforcement and public and private sector partners so we can effectively target those who continue to illegally profiteer on the back of others endeavours."

Around seven million people a month visit sites offering illegal content in the UK. Globally, it is projected that digitally pirated music, films and software will account for losses of around $80bn ? this is expected to rise to $240bn by 2015. According to The Creative Coalition's TERA Report (2010), if nothing is done about copyright infringement, up to a quarter of a million jobs in the UK could be at risk by 2015, according to the communiqué.

The intention to set the unit up was announced by the Business Secretary, Vince Cable, last December.

The Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT) welcomed the creation of a new police unit, as did the British Video Association (BVA) and the British Recorded Music Industry (BPI).

Story filed 02.07.13

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