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Operation Creative and IWL

Operation Creative and the Infringing Website List (IWL)

Operation Creative is a ground-breaking initiative designed to disrupt and prevent websites from providing unauthorised access to copyrighted content, led by the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) in partnership with the creative and advertising industries.

It is a unique partnership between the City of London Police and the UK advertising industry (represented by the Internet Advertising Bureau UK (IAB UK), the Incorporated Society of British Advertisers (ISBA) and the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA)) and rights holders (represented by FACT (Federation Against Copyright Theft), BPI (British Phonographic Industry), IFPI (International Federation of the Phonographic Industry), PRS for Music, The Publishers Association and UKIE (The UK Interactive Entertainment Association).

As part of Operation Creative, rights holders in the creative industries identify and report copyright infringing websites to PIPCU, providing a detailed package of evidence indicating how the site is involved in illegal copyright infringement. Officers from PIPCU then evaluate the websites and verify whether they are infringing copyright. At the first instance of a website being confirmed as providing copyright infringing content, the site owner is contacted by officers at PIPCU and offered the opportunity to engage with the police, to correct their behaviour and to begin to operate legitimately.

If a website fails to comply and engage with the police, then a variety of other tactical options may be used including; contacting the domain registrar to seek suspension of the site, advert replacement and disrupting advertising revenue through the use of an Infringing Website List (IWL).

The IWL, the first of its kind to be developed, is an online portal containing an up-to-date list of copyright infringing sites, identified and evidenced by the creative industries and verified by the City of London Police unit. It is available to the partners of Operation Creative and those involved in the sale and trading of digital advertising. The aim of the IWL is that advertisers, agencies and other intermediaries can voluntarily decide to cease advert placement on these illegal websites which in turn disrupts the sites advertising revenue.

Disrupting advertising is a vital part of Operation Creative, as advertising is a key generator of criminal profits for websites providing access to infringing content. A recent report by the Digital Citizens Alliance estimated that in 2013 piracy websites generated $227million from advertising.

More information

If you are an organisation involved in the sale or trading of digital advertising and want to be part of Operation Creative please send us your details.