New effort to fight online piracy

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A new national police unit aimed at targeting online piracy and other ‘intellectual property’ crime has been welcomed by a senior Warwickshire Police officer.

Detective Inspector Mark Glazzard, head of the force’s Economic Crime Unit, said he looked forward to working with the new body when launched in September.

Details about the unit released by the government and City of London Police pledge it will be dedicated to tackling online piracy and other forms of intellectual property crime such as counterfeit goods. The unit will be one of the first of its kind in the world, ensuring 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 to be launched in September.

DI Glazzard said: “With ever greater use of the internet in relation to consumer purchases of both physical and non-physical products, there are more opportunities for individuals to exploit consumers by supplying sub standard goods.

“This undermines the confidence of the public and genuine businesses. Any law enforcement resources identified to target this area of criminality is welcomed and we look forward to working with the new unit upon its commencement.”

Intellectual property crime is costing the UK economy hundreds of millions of pounds each year, with organised crime gangs causing significant damage to industries that produce legitimate, high quality, physical goods and online and digital content.

Minister for Intellectual Property, Lord Younger said: “Government and our law enforcement agencies must do all they can to protect our creative industries and the integrity of consumer goods.”

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.

DI Glazzard added that anyone who felt they were the victims of fraud should report it to Action Fraud, a government led “one stop shop” reporting centre co-ordinating the fight against fraudsters and scammers.

“Action Fraud is a central point for reporting fraud and financially motivated internet crime and can be contacted on line through www.actionfraud.police.uk or by phoning 0300 123 2040. However, if there is any immediate danger, or if you see a crime in action, call the emergency 999 number. The service is run by the National Fraud Authority working with partners in law enforcement, including police forces nationwide.”