London Police Start Targeting File-Sharing Sites

LONDON — London Metropolitan Police's National Fraud Intelligence Bureau recently started a new initiative targeting websites that provide access to unauthorized content for “criminal gain.”

TorrentFreak reported this month that at at least two sites — both not in the U.K. — have received such letters and confirmed with London Police that an initiative to weed out illegal file-sharing is underway.

The letters say that law enforcement authorities are working with the government and "industry bodies" and continue on to say that violators would be in breach of the Serious Crimes Act and  could face up to 10 years in jail.

Both of the site operators who received the letters are not located in the U.K., but London police believe that crimes are still being committed within British jurisdiction, TorrentFreak said.

A spokesman told TorrentFreak in a statement:“City of London Police has begun an initiative to target websites that attract visitors by providing unauthorized access to copyrighted content for criminal gain. These websites are able to operate and profit from advertising on their sites without having licenses or paying the creators and owners of the films, TV programs, music and publications."

“Intellectual property crime is a serious offense that is costing the U.K. economy hundreds of millions of pounds each year. Working with the U.K. advertising industry, City of London Police and rights holder groups FACT (Federation Against Copyright Theft), BPI (British Recorded Music Industry) and The PA (The Publishers Association) are committed to tackling this problem.”

The NFIB told TorrentFreak that its initiative also seeks to protect U.K. consumers from “malware and other harmful programs that may be downloaded unwittingly from sites that provide illegally offered content.”