New unit to tackle online piracy and counterfeit crime
A new police unit aimed at targeting intellectual property crime has been announced by Intellectual Property Minister, Lord Younger and City of London Police Commissioner, Adrian Leppard today.
The unit will be dedicated to tackling online piracy and other forms of intellectual property crime such as counterfeit goods. It will be one of the first units of its kind in the world, ensuring that the UK stays at the forefront of intellectual property enforcement.
The Intellectual Property Office will provide £2.5 million in funding over two years to the City of London Police, which is the National Lead Force for fraud, to establish and run the unit. It is expected the unit will be up and running in September.
Minister for Intellectual Property, Lord Younger said:
"Intellectual property crime has long been a problem in the world of physical goods, but with the growing use of the internet, online intellectual property crime is now an increasing threat to our creative industries. These industries are worth more than £36 billion a year and employ more than 1.5 million people.
"Government and our law enforcement agencies must do all they can to protect our creative industries and the integrity of consumer goods. By working with the City of London Police, who have recognised expertise in tackling economic crime, we are showing how committed this Government is to supporting business and delivering economic growth."
The Commissioner of the City of London Police, Adrian Leppard, said:
"Intellectual property crime is costing the UK economy hundreds of millions of pounds each year, with organised crime gangs causing significant damage to industries that produce legitimate, high quality, physical goods and online and digital content in an increasingly competitive climate.
"The establishment of a new online intellectual property crime unit is evidence of the Government and City of London Police's commitment to confront this threat. Together we are creating an operationally independent police unit that will co-ordinate the national and international response from law enforcement and public and private sector partners so we can effectively target those who continue to illegally profiteer on the back of others endeavours. In doing so, we will also be safeguarding jobs and protecting people’s personal and computer safety by ensuring they are not exposed to counterfeit goods and unauthorised copyrighted content."
Around seven million people a month visit sites offering illegal content in the UK. Globally, it is projected that digitally pirated music, films and software will account for losses of around $80bn – this is expected to rise to $240bn by 2015. According to The Creative Coalition's TERA Report (2010), if nothing is done about copyright infringement, up to a quarter of a million jobs in the UK could be at risk by 2015.
The intention to set the unit up was announced by the Business Secretary, Vince Cable, last December.
Notes to editors:
- The Intellectual Property Office (IPO) is within the Department for Business, Innovation, and Skills (BIS) and is responsible for the national framework of Intellectual Property rights, comprising patents, designs, trade marks and copyright.
- Internationally traded counterfeited and pirated products are projected to account for between $770bn and $960bn globally by 2105 (BASCAP, Global Impacts Study, 2011).
- The IPO's role is to help manage an IP system that encourages innovation and creativity, balances the needs of consumers and users, promotes strong and competitive markets and is the foundation of the knowledge-based economy.
- The IPO operates in a national and an international environment and its work is governed by national and international law, including various international treaties relating to Intellectual Property to which the United Kingdom is a party.
- For emergency media calls out-of-hours please contact the duty press officer at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills on +44 (0) 20 7215 3505.
Date of release: 28 June 2013