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Weatherley calls for more funding for City Of London Police’s IP Crime Unit

By | Published on Tuesday 15 April 2014

Mike Weatherley

Although the UK government’s Department For Business, Innovation & Skills has committed to fund the previously reported Intellectual Property Crime Unit of the City Of London Police until the end of 2015, that date is now appearing on the horizon, and Mike Weatherley MP, IP Advisor to David Cameron, is already calling for a commitment to continue funding the new policing unit beyond that date.

As previously reported, the IP crime focused department, usually called PIPCU, launched last year to spearhead efforts in combating online piracy, targeting the operators of UK-based piracy services, and coordinating campaigns to encourage the ad industry and domain registrars to stop doing business with copyright infringing web operations. Although not without its controversies, the UK content industries – and the anti-piracy bodies within them – have all commended the new police unit’s work.

And Weatherley too reckons PIPCU is doing good stuff, hence his call for the unit’s future to be assured funding wise. According to Torrentfreak, the MP has written in a letter to PM Cameron and Home Secretary Theresa May: “I appreciate that funding for this new unit is not permanent. However, I would like to put on record my support for committing future funding to fighting IP crime and boosting the current level of financial support that is available for PIPCU”.

Justifying government spending on the fight against piracy, he goes on: “As I am sure that you are aware, the creative industries add over £70 billion to our economy each year and so it really is in our national interest to protect that revenue. If we stop advertisers from shovelling money into illegal sites, we can stop a lot of the [piracy]. If you value the NHS, you should also value IP and our creative industries, as together they help pay for the services in this country that we all cherish. If we take the wrong approach, national services that we take for granted will have a huge budget shortfall”.

As previously reported, Weatherley will be discussing copyright matters, and the government’s role in the fight against piracy, at The Great Escape next month as part of the CMU insights strand Maximising Music Rights. More info here.