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Piracy United Kingdom

London Police Placing Anti-Piracy Warning Ads On Illegal Sites 160

Posted by timothy
from the since-you're-here-anyhow dept.
mrspoonsi (2955715) writes "The City of London police has started placing banner advertisements on websites believed to be offering pirated content illegally. The messages, which will appear instead of paid-for ads, will ask users to close their web browsers. The move comes as part of a continuing effort to stop piracy sites from earning money through advertising. Police said the ads would make it harder for piracy site owners to make their pages look authentic. "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," said Detective Chief Inspector Andy Fyfe from the City of London Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (Pipcu). "This new initiative is another step forward for the unit in tackling IP crime and disrupting criminal profits. "Copyright infringing websites are making huge sums of money though advert placement, therefore disrupting advertising on these sites is crucial and this is why it is an integral part of Operation Creative.""
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London Police Placing Anti-Piracy Warning Ads On Illegal Sites

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  • uno (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    I think piratebay is very authentic, irrelevantly of what is thought of its legality.

    • Of course it's ads almost certainly aren't.

      What real brands are they claiming are advertised on pirate sites?

      • Re: uno (Score:5, Insightful)

        by bickerdyke (670000) on Tuesday July 29, 2014 @10:24AM (#47557199)

        youporn, pornhub and redtube?

        Real and respected brands in their field of business.

        In related news: Who is surfing to such sites without AdBlocker and NoScript shields up?

        • by Loughla (2531696)
          (Generally older) People who Google items like, "Where can I watch Dear John" and "New Will and Grace"

          I am woefully out of touch with culture, but you get the idea.

        • Who is surfing to such sites without AdBlocker and NoScript shields up

          I basically came here to say exactly this. Adblock Plus, NoScript, Ghostery, FlashBlock...whenever I browse the internet without them (eg, on a friend's computer, or when doing tech support, or when re-installing an OS) I have a moment of "...the heck are these abominations?" before I remember that, oh right, the internet has ads.

  • Hilarious (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sockatume (732728) on Tuesday July 29, 2014 @08:52AM (#47556377)

    Piracy sites have found a way to get the Police to pay them money. Whatever war on copyright infringement there might have been, I think it's safe to say that it is over.

    • Re:Hilarious (Score:5, Insightful)

      by JasterBobaMereel (1102861) on Tuesday July 29, 2014 @09:01AM (#47556447)

      ...and the users using AdBlock will see what exactly ...?

    • Re:Hilarious (Score:5, Informative)

      by feldhaus (813019) on Tuesday July 29, 2014 @09:07AM (#47556487)
      From TFA:

      "The initiative will make use of technology provided by Project Sunblock - a firm used by major brands to stop adverts appearing alongside questionable content such as pirated material or pornography."

      "Neither the police or Project Sunblock [are paying the website in question to display the police message." --
      • by Sockatume (732728)

        I should've realised that we don't live in the best of all possible universes. Or read the article. One of those.

      • Re:Hilarious (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Arker (91948) on Tuesday July 29, 2014 @09:17AM (#47556551) Homepage
        Which makes it sound like some sort of attack on the ad network.

        Without more details it's hard to say, but it sounds like the ad network should file a complaint with the UK and get these overenthusiastic corporate cops charged.

        There's a battle to love - ad networks versus the 'city of london.' May they fight forever and leave the rest of us in peace.
        • by shitzu (931108)

          Exactly what i though reading "has started placing banner advertisements on websites" ... "which will appear instead of paid-for ads". Does that mean the City of London police - whatever that is - has taken upon themselves above the law and are essentially cybercriminals? So they con the sites as well as someone who has actually paid for the ad space?

          • Re:Hilarious (Score:4, Insightful)

            by SuricouRaven (1897204) on Tuesday July 29, 2014 @11:03AM (#47557577)

            No, they are doing it with the cooperation of the ad-providers.

            It's more the 'put these ads up for us or we'll charge you for aiding criminal activity' type of cooperation.

            • by sumdumass (711423)

              So whi gets sued when they place one of these on a site that is completely legitimate? I hear that in Europe, slander and libel cases can be won even if the information is true but the intent was to harm a reputation. Clearly this would be that.

          • The City of London is a semi-autonomous part of London which has special rules, and a separate government. https://www.google.com/url?sa=... [google.com]

        • Re: (Score:2, Redundant)

          by Wootery (1087023)
          Wow. So distinctive and impressive. And you use it every damn one of your comments [slashdot.org].

          Really, it's not necessary.

      • So it's a MITM attack essentially ... similar to this one [ex-parrot.com] ... and works on all pirates visiting websites when users are not using SSL?

      • Re:Hilarious (Score:4, Insightful)

        Property Rights? Trespass to Chattels? No abuse of state powers for private gain? How easily the mask slips when a few cold pounds are involved.

        But the people I feel really sorry for are the victims of crime in London, whose cases go unsolved due to precious police resources being wasted on internet nonsense like this.

      • Re:Hilarious (Score:5, Interesting)

        by mrchaotica (681592) * on Tuesday July 29, 2014 @11:25AM (#47557803)

        So what they're doing is infringing the copyright of the allegedly-copyright-infringing website by modifying and redistributing it.

        The hypocrisy is think with this one!

  • pre-crime (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Apparently the rule "innocent until proven guilty" does not apply to "websites", as evidenced by the city of london police.

    This police bunch, it is worth noting, is the police force of the "square mile", which is pretty much run by private corporations, making this essentially a private police force in government-backed livery. It is not strange that it would be acting "proactive" and "innovative" and whatnot in furtherance of private corporate goals.

    • Re:pre-crime (Score:5, Informative)

      by Dogtanian (588974) on Tuesday July 29, 2014 @09:14AM (#47556525) Homepage

      This police bunch, it is worth noting, is the police force of the "square mile"

      Indeed. To clarify, this is specifically the police force of the small area confusingly titled the "City of London" [wikipedia.org] (AKA the "square mile"), i.e. the historic, tiny core of London, long-dominated by financial businesses, and not the police force of London as a whole.

      In fact, the rest of London is served by the Metropolitan Police Service [slashdot.org]. Why would The City need its own special police force? Hmm...

      which is pretty much run by private corporations, making this essentially a private police force in government-backed livery. It is not strange that it would be acting "proactive" and "innovative" and whatnot in furtherance of private corporate goals.

      This article [theguardian.com] may also be of interest.

      • by metrix007 (200091)

        This nonsense again. No conspiracy theory here, and the police force is not run by corporations.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Wow so wrong it hurts.

          Please check the official documents - the City of London Police force is run by the voting wards .... 21 of 25 wards are run by corporate voters .... 4 of 21 wards are run by actual residents. Oh and the 32,000 corporate voters out number the 7,000 residential voters.

          PS In the UK it is the only local council that has a dedicated officer in parliment to remind parliment not to infringe upon the City of London and the only local council since 1969 that still allows for corporations to be

          • by metrix007 (200091)

            No, they are governed by the law. Corporations have more sway in elections, that isn't the same as governing the police force.

          • Maybe that's why you don't often see the "Corporate Police" as a means of Corporations to enforce their will through Free Trade Agreements (which *trump* the democratic national laws) and also *enforce* these laws on the public in UK Sci-Fi movies: they already have it.
    • by Dogtanian (588974)

      This police bunch, it is worth noting, is the police force of the "square mile"

      Indeed. This is specifically the police force of the City of London [wikipedia.org] "square mile", i.e. the historic, tiny core of London, long-dominated by financial businesses, and not the police force of London as a whole.

      In fact, the rest of London is served by the Metropolitan Police Service [slashdot.org]. Why would the City need its own special police force? Hmm...

      which is pretty much run by private corporations, making this essentially a private police force in government-backed livery. It is not strange that it would be acting "proactive" and "innovative" and whatnot in furtherance of private corporate goals.

      This article [theguardian.com] may also be of interest.

    • Copyright enforcement and due process seem to be mutually exclusive.

      You could even say copyright enforcement is mutually exclusive with justice and proportionality.
  • Unless they have some special powers, I suppose the police will have to pay for those ads, just like the regular advertisers do. This would result in the police actively sponsoring these allegedly illegal sites. Can have interesting political repercussions.

    • Unless they have some special powers, I suppose the police will have to pay for those ads, just like the regular advertisers do. This would result in the police actively sponsoring these allegedly illegal sites. Can have interesting political repercussions.

      You used the word "unless" correctly. So the police isn't going to pay. And who would be suing them?

  • by thegarbz (1787294) on Tuesday July 29, 2014 @08:54AM (#47556399)

    I think the take home message here is that in London internet users somehow ended up receiving relevant ads from well known brands.

    I seem to have nothing but crap. Right now I'm staring at an advert for a phone from a brand which is virtually unheard of (though quite prevailent, Huawei), and some company called Brocade who have something to do with bridges from what I can tell?

    Where do I get these mythical well known brands?

    • by wvmarle (1070040)

      Huawei is one of China's main phone manufacturers. The brand is quite well known around here, and apparently they try to expand globally. Their advertising is probably to create brand awareness in other parts of the world, such as where you happen to live - and considering your comment, they're succeeding.

      • by thegarbz (1787294)

        I know who they are, but the brand has zero recognition where I live. That is despite a large portion of the population having their products. For the most part here they produce all the 3G / 4G dongles that every other person has but they are all re-branded.

        Also the advert was for their smartphone which isn't sold here so I would say they aren't succeeding even in the slightest.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Giving how much tax money all these corporations are paying, with absolutely no dodging of any taxes, it's really great to see the police devote so much time and resources to protecting these companies' revenue streams. Almost all the murderers, rapists, and thieves have been locked up. There's very little to no fraud going on in any industries, especially the financial sector who has a primary hub in London. We should definitely cheer on the police in this latest endeavour of serving and protecting corpora

    • by biodata (1981610)
      This is the City of London Police. The City of London is a square-mile independent state within a city. It is outside the control of parliament, owned by the banks, who have most of the voting rights within the organisation of the state, and the City of London Police is its private police force, not to be confused with the Metropolitan Police whose remit is to catch the criminals in the rest of London.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Head over to the pirate bay to see ads for all your favorite brands...Russian women interested in American men...brought to you by Pepsi?

  • 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

    A smart move to place the police logo onto the site -- Users will think that when police vouches for it, it must have spying features, and leave the page.

    But seriously: When they have control over the ad networks, they can simply take down the entire website: the ad networks have full access to the DOM. Why don't they try that?

    • Using some magic Ajax, you could pull the ad and see what's on it. If it's a Police ad, replace it with something different.
  • by pla (258480) on Tuesday July 29, 2014 @09:05AM (#47556475) Journal
    Police said the ads would make it harder for piracy site owners to make their pages look authentic

    No one confuses Rapidshare for BMG's official site. People go there specifically to download pirated content, full stop. Seeing police ads might scare a few people with the paranoia of thinking "the man" has caught them, but the other 99% of visitors will just thank the police for subsidizing their favorite warez sites.

    Truly pathetic, Boys in Blue (Hmm, do Bobbies wear blue?)


    The move comes as part of a continuing effort to stop piracy sites from earning money through advertising.

    By... Um... Buying banner ads on piracy sites? BRILLIANT!
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by drinkypoo (153816)

      No one confuses Rapidshare for BMG's official site. People go there specifically to download pirated content, full stop. Seeing police ads might scare a few people with the paranoia of thinking "the man" has caught them, but the other 99% of visitors will just thank the police for subsidizing their favorite warez sites.

      I know that this is slashdot, and that you therefore feel justified in being an ignorant idiot and spouting off without RTFAing, and you're in quite a bit of company: lots of other idiots are saying the same stupid shit you're saying. But the article makes it clear that "Neither the police or Project Sunblock are paying the website in question to display the police message". They're just suppressing the banner display, and displaying a police message instead.

      Truly pathetic, Boys in Blue (Hmm, do Bobbies wear blue?)

      Pathetic is deciding you know how the system work

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Neither the police or Project Sunblock are paying

        Bloody pirates!

      • by pla (258480)
        But the article makes it clear that "Neither the police or Project Sunblock are paying the website in question to display the police message". They're just suppressing the banner display, and displaying a police message instead.

        Yep, I made a mistake. I presumed that the police would know better than to enter into a conspiracy to commit outright theft of service and libel in their efforts to appease the recording industry. One crime doesn't justify another. Mea culpa.

        Except, in your zeal to find some
        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          Would you care to respond to that, or would you prefer to latch on to a typo somewhere in this post?

          Well, you're right, I was in full dick mode. I'm even sorry about it, albeit admittedly only slightly. I apologize for how, but not what I said. Yeah well, that's the best you're getting out of me this morning.

          Nobody expects the piracy sites to be legit. But a lot of people think that there are so many of them that their activity can go unnoticed. Those people are about to get an awakening, if they even take the banners seriously.

          • by pla (258480)
            I gladly accept correction, so I have no problem with your intent, if not your tone.

            We all go "full dick" sometimes, though, so, no worries. :)
    • by Zocalo (252965) on Tuesday July 29, 2014 @09:29AM (#47556633) Homepage

      No one confuses Rapidshare for BMG's official site.

      No one should confuse The City of London police [wikipedia.org] for an actual police force as most people imagine them, either. They are a territorial force responsible for a tiny area of Greater London as a whole that measuring a little over square mile and consists of mostly financial institutions and only a few thousand actual residents. Still, owing to their location in The City, they have developed quite a reputation for fraud investigations and also incorporate a division dealing with Intellectual Property [wikipedia.org], so other than the jurisdictional issues of interfering with websites (or at least the ads displayed on them) that are most likely hosted outside The City they actually do have the means and backing to look into this kind of thing.

    • So close on the color! Blue is the color worn by police in London... except for the CoLP, the ones responsible for this action. That's because the City (Not London, but a tiny district within it) is, for historical reasons, actually a semi-independant mini-state and as such get to have their own police force that is seperate from the rest of the UK police. Their color scheme is red, not blue.

      As the City is the financial district, the CoLP have a strong focus on the type of crime that happens in a financial

  • by rossdee (243626) on Tuesday July 29, 2014 @09:06AM (#47556477)

    Are there a lot of pirate websites located in the city of London?

    • by Xest (935314)

      Yeah and they've been guilty of plundering billions, websites like Barclays, CitiBank, HSBC and so on.

  • by Joe Gillian (3683399) on Tuesday July 29, 2014 @09:12AM (#47556515)

    One thing I'd like to point out is that the City of London Police are not the same thing as the British Metropolitan Police. This was something that came up in an article a few months ago where the City of London Police were fighting against piracy. They're basically an area within London that has existed for hundreds of years under corporate rule.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C... [wikipedia.org]

    The City of London police are basically a corporate police force with an authority that does not go beyond the corporate-controlled City of London area.

    • by metrix007 (200091)

      They are a police force specific to a small area, that doesn't mean they are governed by corporations.

      • by whoever57 (658626) on Tuesday July 29, 2014 @10:45AM (#47557397) Journal

        They are a police force specific to a small area, that doesn't mean they are governed by corporations.

        Apparently you failed to read the section on elections in the City of London:

        The City has a unique electoral system. Most of its voters are representatives of businesses and other bodies that occupy premises in the City.

        So, yes, they are governed by corporations.

      • You're right. But the fact that it is literally governed by a corporation [wikipedia.org] does.

        • by metrix007 (200091)

          That means little. Corporations are often set up for bookkeeping or other reasons. It's disingenuous to use that as evidence that the City of London police force is corrupt and run by "corporations".

          • I figured you'd follow the links and actually take some time to learn about the topic, so I don't think it's disingenuous of me to have left things where I did. Had you taken the time to read through the links, it would be apparent that the everyday sort of corporate management arrangement you're painting it as is not at all representative of the reality here, and that the police force is run not just by the Corporation, but also by the corporations. To quote from near the top of the page that you'd have re

            • by metrix007 (200091)

              I admit I did not read your links, because I have seen this same nonsense theory pop up on /. numerous times before, and have read those links in the past.

              The link and explanation RE the Common Council is interesting, thank you. Still, I only see evidence that this allows the corporations to have more influence over the City of London Police, it still is not the same thing as governing them.

              When people make that claim, they make it seem like rest of laws in the country have no influence on the CoL police, a

              • Do you have any information on arrestable offenses or crimes in The City of London that could not be made by the Metropolitan Police Force?

                I do not. I have no firsthand info. I've heard some off-hand comments from Londoners and looked into the topic yesterday before I started posting here, so it's likely you have a broader knowledge than I do on the subject. Even so, I'll point out that the arrestable offenses in the City don't need to be different for a corporate influence to be at play.

                Because they control the vote, they can dictate public policy, but, as you mentioned, they must do so within the bounds of the laws of the country. As such, w

    • by Xest (935314)

      That's not true in practice, their authority seems definitely national, possibly even global in practice.

      They've been engaged in raids well outside of the City of London including in my jurisdiction up here in Yorkshire. In fact, I took advantage of the fact we now have police crime commissioners to ask why my local tax payment via council tax to the police was being used to fund the interests of the City of London when the whole point of having police crime commissioners was to give local residents more of

  • by EzInKy (115248) on Tuesday July 29, 2014 @09:15AM (#47556529)

    ...take care of this nuisance. Who in their right mind allows third party sites to run in their browser anyway?

  • by MetalliQaZ (539913) on Tuesday July 29, 2014 @09:19AM (#47556573)

    Websites by themselves aren't "illegal". Using those terms gives undue legitimacy to copyright maximalists. What is meant here by "illegal" is that they host content which may be infringing on copyright.

  • Misleading title (Score:4, Informative)

    by JigJag (2046772) on Tuesday July 29, 2014 @09:21AM (#47556583)

    Hey editors, the City of London Police is NOT the same as the London Police. To get a good understanding of the difference, please view The (secret) City of London, Part 1: History [youtube.com] (less than 5 min) and then The (secret) City of London, Part 2: Government [youtube.com] (less than 6 min).

    JigJag

  • Do they mean http://www.projectsunblock.com... [projectsunblock.com] ?

    Seems likely, and if so the ad serving network would have to cooperate in allowing sunblocks JS to be served to client browsers. I can only home the Met's and Cities finest have a 100% accurate blocklist, because it only takes one high profile false-positive and a suit for loss of earnings due to illegal seizure of assets to drain sunblock dry.

  • and it doesn't matter.
  • by Hamsterdan (815291) on Tuesday July 29, 2014 @10:23AM (#47557193)

    I'm pretty sure this will work as well as the unskippable FBI warning on DVD movies.

    • by GNious (953874)

      Only thing unskippable are the ads on Disney DVDs ...

    • Over time you link banner in with a cookie, flash cookie and database cookie folders.
      ie as with the first gen flash cookies you get a a unique ID and can be tracked online for a while.
      What was once online marketing activities in 100KB deep in a browser is now todays police work.
  • While there's an opportunity to debate the good and bad of it, tapping into the advertising thread of web sites is novel to me. The legality question is similar to what WOT [mywot.com] does, right? The plugin warns me about a site's reputation but I do have the option to proceed.

    I wonder if any sites have filed suit against WOT?

  • A tax is already levied in blank CDs and media, I wonder why our taxes have to be misused for the Police to work for the medias conglomerates for free.
    • by ledow (319597)

      Er... is there a UK tax on blank CD's and media?

      I'm not sure there is.

      • by ruir (2709173)
        Actually you are right, UK and Luxembourg are the only exemptions in Europe, apparently. Nevertheless, I dont know why are ISPs and forces of order working for free for the media conglomerates, but we fully well know who foots the bill.
  • I think I need copies of these banner-ads, and pay Google/whoever to put them on legit sites!

  • by jsepeta (412566) on Tuesday July 29, 2014 @01:16PM (#47558863) Homepage

    it's silly for the state to jump in and spend so much time, effort, and money on what is essentially a failure of business to demonstrate to people that their content is worth purchasing. free market rules, y'all

    • The gov cares as the pay TV monopoly zones see having their wealth protected from all other providers.
      You pay for months of pay tv to enjoy a new show per season. You dont get to enjoy each show from another nations computer company in near real time.
      So expect to see a lot of pay tv efforts locally and internationally to protect each networked thiefdom .
  • They should have evey right to do so for sites located in London. The London police have no legal authority to enforce laws outside their jurisdiction.

  • It was about time somebody did anything against piracy. These bucaneers and freebooters infest the seven seas and are a threat to honest seafarers. Aye!

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