Over the past two years City of London Police’s PIPCU unit has been working with the music and movie industries to target sites that provide unauthorized access to copyrighted content.

Under the banner “Operation Creative”, last year they struck a deal with online advertising companies with the goal of replacing ads on suspected pirate sites with police banners.

The banners in question inform users that “illegal downloading is a crime” and stress the site they’re browsing has been reported to the authorities.

Police banner

The campaign has been active for more than a year but PIPCU only selectively releases information about its scope. However, thanks to a recent Freedom of Information (FOI) request we now know how many sites are on the “Infringement Watch List.”

PIPCU informs TF that 151 domain names are being targeted by the advertisement replacement effort. These domains have been reported to the police by copyright holder groups, which is also the case for PIPCU’s other anti-piracy initiatives.

Last year we sent a similar FOI request and at the time 74 sites were included, meaning that the number being targeted has doubled over the past year. Unfortunately, the police are not willing to share the actual domain names as this may increase the number of visitors to these sites.

“This is an ongoing investigation and disclosure to the public domain would raise the profile of those sites unlawfully providing copyright material. This would enable individuals to visit the sites highlighted and unlawfully download copyright material…

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