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Weatherley publishes Follow The Money piracy report

By | Published on Thursday 26 June 2014

Mike Weatherly

Mike Weatherley MP, in his guise as IP Adviser to David Cameron, has published his ‘Follow The Money’ report, which puts the focus in the battle against online piracy on cutting off the revenue streams of websites that primarily exist to enable others to infringe copyright. Weatherley has been stressing the importance of this approach for some time.

Launching his report yesterday, Weatherley told CMU: “Following the money is the key to shutting down the vast majority of websites that host illegal material. This report explores a number of issues surrounding the piracy debate and I hope that it will spur further discussion both in the UK and, given the international nature of this problem, in other countries across the world”.

He went on: “As the Intellectual Property Adviser to the Prime Minister, I feel that it is my role to highlight just how damaging piracy is to the UK economy. It is paramount that we curb advertising revenue that is going to pirates who are, in turn, seriously damaging our creative industries”.

In his report, Weatherley proposes that work be done to investigate if an advertising monitoring system could be created to help brands (whose online advertising is often handled by ad networks once, twice or thrice removed from the actual advertiser) and rights owners to better monitor what ads are appearing on piracy websites.

Some advertisers don’t realise their banners are appearing on such sites, and such a monitoring system would help them act to ensure their ads are removed. For those advertisers which don’t care (often online operators themselves), the Intellectual Property Office and City Of London Police IP Crime Unit should consider if new laws are needed, Weatherley added.

The IP Crime Unit, which Weatherly again says should have its future funding assured in the new report, welcomed the MP’s findings. Steve Head, Head Of Economic Crime at City Of London Police, said: “Disrupting revenue to pirate websites is vital to combating online intellectual property piracy and I therefore welcome the recommendations in Mike Weatherley’s report. We must take the profit out of this type of criminality and where legitimate companies, such as payment providers, are facilitating that profit they must be held to account if they fail to act”.

Meanwhile David Cameron, taking time off from apologising for appointing criminals to his own inner sanctum, also welcomed the new paper, and said the government would consider its recommendations closely. He told reporters: “Mike Weatherley’s ‘Follow The Money’ discussion paper is an interesting addition to this important area of work and the government will look at it closely”.

He went on: “It is encouraging that creative industries are building a stronger relationship with our enforcement bodies, such as the new national Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit that the government has established. Intellectual Property is an important property right that contributes enormously to our economy”.