UK Police Replace Ads on Copyright-infringing Sites with Warning Banners

Closed SignThe City of London Polices Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) is aiming to dissuade copyright pirates by replacing display advertising on illegal sites with warnings advising users to leave.

UK users who access sites that offer pirated content may find the usual banner and pop-up ads replaced with warnings that the site is under investigation and advising them to close the browser. By removing the ads, the PIPCU is aiming to disrupt a source of revenue that these sites typically rely upon.

The move is the latest step in Operation Creative, an initiative led by PIPCU in partnership with the creative and advertising industries that aims to disrupt and prevent piracy in the UK.

“This new initiative is another step forward for the unit in tackling IP crime and disrupting criminal profits,” said DCI Andy Fyfe, head of PIPCU. “Copyright infringing websites are making huge sums of money through advert placement, therefore disrupting advertising on these sites is crucial and this is why it is an integral part of Operation Creative.

“This work also helps us to protect consumers. When adverts from well known brands appear on illegal websites, they lend them a look of legitimacy and inadvertently fool consumers into thinking the site is authentic.”