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UK police IP crime unit goes into action

The new police unit aimed at targeting intellectual property crime, announced by UK Intellectual Property Minister Lord Younger in July and officially launched last week, carried out its first raids and arrested two men.

The men were arrested in Birmingham, suspected of importing thousands of counterfeit DVD box sets and selling them online as genuine products. DVDs worth £40,000 were seized including titles such as Game of Thrones, CSI and Vampire Diaries.

The Intellectual Property Office is providing £2.5 million in funding over two years to the City of London Police, which is the National Lead Force for fraud, to run the unit. The unit is dedicated to tackling online piracy and other forms of intellectual property crime such as counterfeit goods. It is one of the first units of its kind in the world.

"Launching PIPCU [Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit] we are making a statement of intent and sending out a clear warning to organised crime that the UK has just become a more hostile place for those who seek to make criminal capital on the back of others' honest endeavours," says City of London police commissioner Adrian Leppard.

It is estimated that around seven million people a month visit sites that offer illegal content in the UK. Globally, illegally downloaded music, films and software might cost the industry around $80bn - a figure expected to triple by 2015.

Story filed 15.09.13

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