Lord Younger, in his capacity as Intellectual Property Minster, has announced that a new IP police unit is to be created by September of this year. This follows a statement made by Vince Cable and BIS made last December. The unit will focus on different forms of intellectual property-related offences, but with a specific mandate to tackle online piracy. There will be an initial funding of £2.5 million over a two year period to the City of London Police in order to found the division. Lord Younger has been quoted as saying, “…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….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 Intellectual Property Office estimates around 7 million people per month visit sites offering illegal content in the United Kingdom; projections have suggested that digitally pirated content are responsible for losses of approximately $80 billion worldwide. We will be interested to see the impact of this new unit on curbing online piracy.