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PIPCU arrest two men in connection with gaming piracy investigation

Officers from the City of London Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) have arrested two men in connection with an ongoing investigation into the illegal distribution of copyright protected video games.

On Tuesday 18 October 2016, PIPCU detectives arrested two men aged 47 and 44 years at their home addresses in Birmingham, West Midlands and Blyth, Northumberland respectively on suspicion of copyright infringement and money laundering offences.

Both men have since been released on police bail pending further enquiries.

Detectives have also seized digital media and computer hardware found at both addresses.

The PIPCU investigation was launched in cooperation withUK Interactive Entertainment (UKIE) and Entertainment Software Association (ESA), after it was identified that unauthorised copies of video games were being made available by members of a website via the BitTorrent network. The site had in excess of 12,500 torrent files available to the websites users.

Detective Sergeant Gary Brownfrom the City of London Police Intellectual Property Department said: “With the ever growing consumer appetite for gaming driving the threat of piracy to the industry, our action today is essential in disrupting criminal activity and the money which drives it. Those who steal copyrighted content exploit the highly skilled work and jobs supported by the gaming industry. We are working hard to tackle digital intellectual property crime and we will continue to target our enforcement activity towards those identified as content thieves whatever scale they are operating at.”

A spokesperson from UK Interactive Entertainment said: “Ukie applauds the action taken by PIPCU against the operators of the site. Sites like this are harmful to the hard work of game creators around the world. PIPCU’s actions confirm that these sites will not be tolerated, and are subject to criminal enforcement.”

Stanley Pierre-Louis, general counsel for the Entertainment Software Association, which represents the U.S. video game industry said: “ESA commends PIPCU for its commitment to taking action against sites that facilitate the illegal copying and distribution of incredibly advanced works of digital art. We are grateful for PIPCU’s leadership in this area and their support of creative industries.”