Intellectual Property | PIPCU Shuts Down Copyright-Infringing Sites

On 26th May, the City of London’s Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (“PIPCU”) attempted to shut down torrentz.eu, the largest torrent search engine on the internet, although within 24 hours the site was back up and running after the Torrentz legal team pointed out that the suspension was unlawful. An earlier decision by ICANN’s Transfer Dispute Resolution Policy panel concluded that a court order is required in order to take such drastic action.

The PIPCU also attempted to seize the domain of one of the biggest free sports-streaming sites, Cricfree.tv, to try and prevent people from watching the football World Cup on anything other than legal channels. However, like torrentz.eu, the site was back up and running within a few hours using a different domain.

The PIPCU’s activities began with the sending of warning emails to many domains around the world, warning them that non-compliance with police requests would result in further action.

Their action has taken several forms, including the attempted seizure of domains, reported disruption of advertising revenue and physical raids on premises to shut them down, such as the one carried out on Boxing Guru, a website which streams boxing from around the world, earlier this year.

There have recently been more signs of action from the PIPCU, as over the weekend, file-sharing site FileCrop disappeared from the internet and was replaced with a copyright infringement notice from the PIPCU.

The notice goes on to suggest that ‘for a safe and reliable guide to online content’, people should visit alternative sites, such as Pro Music, Find Any Film or The Content Map.

What makes the PIPCU’s treatment of FileCrop unusual is that Filecrop is not the usual “Pirate Bay” style torrent site but rather a search engine that allows users to look for content hosted on various file-lockers that all have strict notice and takedown procedures.

For more information about intellectual property, speak to the intellectual property solicitors at Mackrell Turner Garrett.

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Mackrell Turner Garrett Solicitors in London