London cops team up with Project Sunblock to keep advertising money out of the hands of content pirates.
The City Police of London is now placing anti-piracy advertising right on the sites it’s trying to shut down.
The new initiative, which is overseen by the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU), is an attempt to keep advertising revenue out of the pockets of those running such illegal torrenting and TV streaming websites, as many of these sites have legitimate advertising in full display.
PIPCU has teamed up with Project Sunblock for the operation, a company that specializes in removing its client’s advertising from ne’er-do-well websites. Sunblock calls its practices “Brand Safety,” as in keeping brands away from IP thieves and law-breakers.
“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,” said Detective Chief Inspector Andy Fyfe to the BBC. “This new initiative is another step forward for the unit in tackling IP crime and disrupting criminal profits.”
The sting works like this: Once a website’s advertising is flagged for copyright infringement by a given brand, PIPCU verifies if the site is, in fact, infringing. If so, the site can end up on the PIPCU Infringing Websites List (IWL). Once on the list, ads protected by Sunblock will disappear, to be replaced by London Police banners, etc.
Eventually, targeted sites could have their domain registration revoked, and face criminal prosecution.