Pirates beware, City of London Police starts Project Sunblock internet ad takeover

City of London Police is ramping up its offensive on internet piracy with an initiative that will see legitimate advertising on websites accused of infringing copyright replaced with banners warning visitors to beware.

Its Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit has joined forces with Project Sunblock, which provides the technology and means to replace big brand web advertising.

It has started to replace advertising already with official force banners. Brand adverts on infringing websites will appear instead as pop-ups informing users that the website is under investigation by the City of London Police unit for copyright infringement. They advise users to exit the websites.

The PIPCU has been informed by rights holders which sites to target. The unit has been supplied detailed packages of evidence as to how the sites are involved in illegal copyright infringement.

Officers evaluate the sites to verify the claims. The owners of the accused websites are then contacted by the PIPCU and offered an opportunity to engage with the police, correct their behaviour and to begin operating legitimately. If they don't they could be hit by a number of measures, including Project Sunblock, and added to the Infringing Website List.

"This new initiative is another step forward for the unit in tackling IP crime and disrupting criminal profits," said head of PIPCU, DCI Andy Fyfe.

"Copyright infringing websites are making huge sums of money though advert placement, therefore disrupting advertising on these sites is crucial.

"This work also helps us to protect consumers. 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."

For more information on Project Sunblock visit projectsunblock.co.uk.