Thursday, April 03, 2014

Anti-piracy campaign produces list of sites where you can make out like a bandit

The anti-piracy people are publishing a list of websites which offer large swathes of unlicenced music and film:

Here's how the IWL is designed to work: the creative industry bodies provide the initial list of infringing sites, which is then "evidenced and verified" by the City of London Police's Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU), providing a list of undesirables for advertisers to avoid.

PIPCU claims that the pilot resulted in 12% less advertising from "major household brands" on the identified sites. "If an advert from an established brand appears on an infringing website not only does it lend the site a look of legitimacy, but inadvertently the brand and advertiser are funding online crime," said the unit's boss Detective Chief Inspector Andy Hyde.
Now, obviously, if the list was made public, what the diligent work would have done would be offer people keen to get their hands on an m4v of Anchorman 2 the best places to look.

So they're not making the list public.

That's problematic, though - it means the police are circulating documents accusing websites of criminal activity without allowing those site owners a chance to defend themselves, based on a list originally produced by the copyright businesses in the first place. It's not clear what "evidence" is gathered by the City of London police, and it's surely wrong for police evidence to merely be accepted as proof without testing this in an open justice process.

Sure, 'making it hard for pirate websites to profit' sounds great.

But when you realise that means 'private corporations and police working together to undermine websites on the basis of a secret list' it starts to become a little more sinister.