Thursday 31 October 2013

Reading, Writing and Arrest-matic as PIPCU strikes three

This blogger received a press release today which makes fascinating reading.  It runs like this:
New Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) makes third arrest

Detectives from the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) have arrested a man at his Reading home today on suspicion of operating a website that was illegally selling music albums, singles and films. This early morning operation, which followed a referral from PRS for Music, is the third arrest made by City of London Police's Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) since its launch last month.

The 33-year-old man is believed to have been using a website to sell discs containing music and films, which he does not hold the copyright licence for, for a small fee of only a few pounds. Each disc can contain up to 40 music albums and is estimated to be worth hundreds of pounds. The man was taken to a local police station for further questioning by PIPCU officers and subsequently an agreement was reached to transfer the control of the website to City of London Police.

Detective Inspector Rob [an unfortunate choice of forename for a policeman involved in ant--theft activities?] Stirling, from PIPCU, said:
“Today’s arrest forms part of just one of the many investigations PIPCU is currently pursuing. Since the launch of PIPCU we have seen a wide range of businesses come forward with referrals for the unit and today’s operation shows how this information can swiftly be turned into live investigations and arrests. We urge any UK organisation who believes they may be victim to intellectual property crime in the UK or overseas, to get in touch and submit evidence to the unit so we can get right to work.”
A spokesperson for PRS for Music said:
“We welcome the establishment of the new Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) and will be working closely with them to ensure that member’s rights are protected. Today’s action is a positive step forward in tackling those individuals and companies who profit from the theft of their music.”
The Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) has been set up to protect UK industries that produce legitimate, high quality, physical goods and online and digital content.

The operationally independent unit is initially being funded - £2.56m over two years [£2.56m is a derisory sum for an operationally independent unit, unless it can rely on PRS for Music, FACT and other bodies to do its investigations for it] - by the Intellectual Property Office, which is part of the Department for Business Innovation Skills [not quite: it's the Department of Business, Innovation & Skills ...].

In the next two years PIPCU will be working with a wide range of national and international partners from public authorities and private industry to build a comprehensive UK policing response to the threat of online intellectual property crime.

The unit will also be focused on influencing online behaviour by site owners, service providers and consumers through education, prevention and enforcement activity, and providing offenders where appropriate with opportunities to accept restorative justice.
To find out more information on PIPCU or to make a referral just click here.

This blogger wonders what would have happened to the 33-year old man from Reading if PIPCU hadn't been invented. Would he not in any event be prosecuted?

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