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Intellectual property: Police place anti-piracy bannering on illegal websites

The City of London Police have begun placing anti-piracy banners on websites suspected of offering pirate media content for downloading, in a bid to deter site users from breaching intellectual property law, reports the BBC.

The City of London police messages will appear as large colour banners in place of regular advertising slots on websites that have been shown to be offering pirated media, such as music and films, for users to download.

The banners will notify site users that the website has been reported to police for breaching copyright law, and advises users to close their web browser without illegally downloading content from the site.

It is hoped that the banners will make it more difficult for piracy sites to pass themselves off to internet users as legitimate websites to access films, software and music content, something that is made easier when websites carry advertising for legitimate content.

Detective Chief Inspector Andy Fyfe works at the City of London Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit:

"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" he told the BBC.

The strategy to tackle online copyright infringement is called Operation Creative, and is run by the City of London Police, working alongside advertising agencies and representatives of the music and film publishing industries.

The Operation commenced back in late 2013, with a pilot project whereby the police notified website operators that their site had been flagged for offering pirate media content.

The pilot also focused on advertising, notifying well-known brands that their wares were being marketed on illegal websites.

The programme now benefits from the assistance of online technology provided by Operation Sunblock, which notifies brands when their products are advertised on illegal or pornographic websites. In future Sunblock will replace the brand's advertising with the Police banner.

In the long run it is hoped that stifling pirate website's access to advertising money will limit their ability to operate.