With a special focus on online infringement, PIPCU has always been closely in step with the music, movie, and publishing industries and it didn’t take long for its presence to be felt. Even before its official launch in December 2013, PIPCU began writing letters to torrent and streaming sites, advising them to shut down – or else. But that was just the beginning.
Over the past five years the unit has publicised various actions against alleged infringers including streaming arrests, attempted domain seizures, torrent site closures and advertising disruptions. PIPCU also shut down several sports streaming and ebook sites plus a large number of proxies.
Now, however, with its fifth official birthday looming, PIPCU has received prestigious recognition from overseas.
During the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Global Innovation Policy Center’s (GIPC) 6th annual IP Champions event in Washington, PIPCU was among 11 “innovators and creators” to be honored for their contribution to the intellectual property arena. Two key players from PIPCU were handed the IP Champion for Excellence in Enforcement award.
Detective Chief Superintendent Pete O’Doherty, the head of the City of London Police’s Economic Crime Directorate, was recognized for his leadership at PIPCU which has “successfully swept millions of pounds’ worth of counterfeit goods off the streets.”
Nick Court, PIPCU’s Acting Detective Chief Inspector, was credited for combating illegal online streaming and other digital piracy, while suspended 30,000 websites linked to the sale of counterfeit goods.
The GIPC award is notable in itself but PIPCU will be particularly pleased that this is the first year that the award has been handed to an international law enforcement body outside the United States.
“This is a significant achievement for the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) which has gone from strength to strength since its inception in 2013,” said Detective Chief Superintendent Pete O’Doherty.
“The dedication of the officers in this unit is a credit to the force and it is an honor to have that recognized as the first recipient of this award within the international law enforcement community.”
Dr. Ros Lynch, Director of Copyright and Enforcement at the Intellectual Property Office, congratulated PIPCU on their achievement.
“I’m delighted to hear that PIPCU has won the Excellence in Enforcement award. To be the first international law enforcement body to win this award is a huge achievement,” Lynch said.
“I’d like to congratulate and thank PIPCU’s officers for helping to protect UK industries and the public from counterfeit goods.”
While PIPCU was initially very aggressive against torrent and streaming platforms, it later became involved in a number of cases against people selling streaming devices containing modified Kodi setups, free illegal streaming apps, and premium illicit IPTV subscriptions. It has been quieter on this front lately but the unit certainly hasn’t gone away.
Last August, the Intellectual Property Office confirmed that PIPCU had received £3.32m in additional government funding, safeguarding the unit until June 30, 2019.