U.K. Police Initiative Leads to Large Advertising Drop on Piracy Sites

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Operation Creative is supported by industry trade organizations in Britain.

A British police operation against pirate web sites, dubbed Operation Creative, has led to advertising on sites offering pirated content to drop by 73 percent.

The Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit said the decline has come since its launch of anti-piracy measures in 2013, The Guardian reported. Industry trade bodies representing the film, music, TV and publishing sectors have been supporting the initiative.

The unit estimates that in 2013, U.K. piracy web sites generated ad revenue of $227 million (£145 million). It has been keeping the so-called Infringing Website List of illegal sites, to which the creative industry can refer to ensure ad campaigns don't include sites offering pirated content.

"The criminals behind these sites are making substantial sums of money from advertising, and inadvertently brands and advertisers are funding this online crime," The Guardian quoted Peter Ratcliffe, the head of the unit, as saying. "Working closely with rights holders and the advertising industry, the PIPCU has been able to lead the way with tackling copyright infringing sites by successfully disrupting advertising revenue."