English: The pirate flag of Jack Rackham (1682...

 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Operation Creative,” an operation combining the City of London police and advertising groups and music and publishing execs is fighting piracy in the UK. Representatives of Police Intellectual Property Crime unit contacted 61 websites over a three month period to inform them that they were hosting unauthorized content. In cases where the offending material was not removed details were passed along to brands advertising on the site. The goal is to cut the revenue of pirate sites.

If the offending sites refused to remove content details were passed to domain registrars with the notation that they were¬†“facilitating copyright infringement under UK law.” Over the course of the pilot advertising by major brands on pirate sites decreased by 12 percent. There was, however, an accompanying rise in ads exposing viewers to adult content or malware as the sites clearly try to compensate for the decrease in revenues. Thus far, 40 websites have been suspended and it is hoped that “Operation Creative” will go into action against pirate sites full time in 2014.

The UK is clearly ahead of the back in bringing law enforcement into the picture to enforce copyright. It seems, however, that even in the UK official enforcement is limited as the police are essentially putting websites on notice that they are being watched closely. The real teeth here are provided by the possibility of legal action against domain registrars for facilitating pirate sites. The case of “Operation Creative” shows that going after pirate websites is like a case of “Whack-a-Mole” – if one source of revenue disappears another will pop up to replace it. That’s all that can be expected to happen unless and until there’s a legitimate threat of criminal and economic sanctions made against the pirates or those who facilitate their actions.

Enhanced by Zemanta