UK Announces New Crime Unit Focusing Solely On IP Crimes

from the here-we-go dept

Just a few weeks ago, we noted that the UK government appeared to be working uncomfortably closely with the entertainment industry, going so far as to have lobbying groups do a kind of real-action ride-a-long for arrests of UK citizens. This, after the UK entertainment industry made it their reprehensible goal to censor websites it doesn't like without even the appearance of due process. There seemed to be something of storm cloud brewing over the UK internet, leaving many to wonder exactly how torrential (get it?) the downpour would be.

Well, if the first few raindrops are any indication, it'll be as misguided as it is costly. You see, the UK thinks the next great step for their nation's police force is an Intellectual Property Crimes unit.

"Intellectual property crime has long been a problem in the world of physical goods, but with the growing use of the internet, online intellectual property crime is now an increasing threat to our creative industries. These industries are worth more than £36 billion a year and employ more than 1.5 million people," Lord Younger said.

"Government and our law enforcement agencies must do all they can to protect our creative industries and the integrity of consumer goods. By working with the City of London Police, who have recognised expertise in tackling economic crime, we are showing how committed this government is to supporting business and delivering economic growth."
And hey, why not? After all, it's only costing the British taxpayer roughly $4 million to have their police force act as the American entertainment industry's Stasi. Four-mil-do may not sound like a big number, but when you're $1.5 trillion in debt, every bit counts. And if they just peered over at their long-time-friends and habitual wine-drinking neighbors in France, particularly with how monumentally futile the Hadopi experiment was, maybe they'd decide they could use that money for something more productive. You know, like burning it for a couple moments of warmth.

But no, they say. This is all about jobs and protecting the innocent computers of the citizens.
[Commissioner of the City of London Police, Adrian] Leppard said the new unit would not only safeguard jobs, but would also ensure citizens’ “computer safety” by ensuring they were not exposed to unauthorized copyrighted content.

“Creative industries such as music are a vital part of our economy, providing jobs and investment. Copyright is the engine that makes these industries tick and that is what makes the work of this new Intellectual Property Crime Unit so valuable and important.”
See, the problem is that we've heard the dramatic death-moans of the UK entertainment industry in the past, and they've been shown to be bullshit. You don't create jobs through protectionism, you create them through innovation. And keeping people from being "exposed to unauthorized copyright content?" I can't tell if that is supposed to indicate that UK citizens are being actively sought out by movie files, or if the Commissioner is simply acknowledging that he's going to deny the citizens he serves what a large number of them want, which is access to filesharing sites.

It would be entertaining to watch how this all fails miserably if it weren't being propped up on the backs of tax money paid by my English comrades. But fail it will, not because there isn't great content in the UK, but because the industries concerned would rather play blackshirt than just compete.

Filed Under: copyright, crime, intellectual property, law enforcement, uk


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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Jul 2013 @ 7:46am

    Printer crime is on the increase, i would advise every citizen who has a suspicious printer engaging in potential illegal activity to report it to the police.

    Likely wise the undead.

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