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UK cops: Keep yer golden doubloons, ad folk. Yon websites belong ta PIRATES

Launch database of 'verified' infringing websites

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British police have launched a who's who of pirating websites in an attempt to stop advertisers from spending money with sites deemed illegal.

The Infringing Website List is hoping to cut copyright-breaking websites off at the knees by stopping their top source of revenue: advertising.

The database will be available to brands and companies that buy ads so they can choose to avoid sites that have been "evidenced and verified" as illegal by the City Of London's Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU).

"If an advert from an established brand appears on an infringing website, not only does it lend the site a look of legitimacy, but inadvertently the brand and advertiser are funding online crime," PIPCU's head, detective chief inspector Andy Fyfe, said in a canned statement.

"Therefore the list also serves as a safety tool, ensuring the reputation of advertisers and brands are not discredited through association with illegal websites."

The police said that advertising was a key source of funds for websites that infringe on copyright, with a report by rights-holders' group the Digital Citizens Alliance estimating that piracy sites got $227m in advertising cash last year.

The list has been set up in collaboration with copyright holders including the the British Recorded Music Industry (BPI), the Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT), the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), The Publishers Association, the Internet Advertising Bureau UK (IAB UK), the Incorporated Society of British Advertisers (ISBA) and the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA).

To make it onto the list, sites will be "identified by the creative industries" and then verified by PIPCU. The police said that a three month trial of the list led to a 12 per cent reduction in advertising from household brands.

"It is essential we protect our creative industries from people ripping off their content online," said culture minister Ed Vaizey. "Disrupting the money unlawful websites make from advertising could make a real difference to the fight against copyright infringement. It is an excellent example of what can be achieved through industry, Government and law enforcement working together." ®

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