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Cops get £3m fund to tackle piracy

Government boosts coffers of agency set up to tackle digital copyright theft

Police in London have been given an extra £3million to help tackle digital piracy.

The funding has been pledged by the UK government to the City of London Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU), which targets those who illegally share copyrighted music, films and books online.

PIPCU has been operating since last year and the new funding will pay for their work until 2017. Since forming, PIPCU has investigated more than £29m worth of intellectual property crime and suspended 2359 internet domain names.

It is estimated digital piracy costs the UK around £1.3billion a year in lost taxes and profits.

Baroness Neville-Rolfe, Westminster's Minister for Intellectual Property, made the announcement at the Anti-Counterfeiting Group Conference in London.

She says: "We’ve seen significant success in PIPCU’s first year of operation. This extra support for will help the unit to build on this impressive record in the fight against intellectual property crime."

City of London Police Commander Steve Head said the funding was "fantastic news for the City of London Police and the Creative Industries, and very bad news for those that seek to make capital through intellectual property crime."

The news was also welcomed by the Alliance for Intellectual Property. The group's director general Eddy Leviten says: "In its first year PIPCU has shown itself to be at the forefront of innovative solutions to disrupt criminal activity, protect UK jobs and help IP be the driving force for the UK economy.

"PIPCU is now an integral part of the enforcement landscape but we also need to ensure that trading standards, National Crime Agency and others are equipped to play their own vital roles protecting consumers and targeting criminal activity."

Musicians have differing views on piracy. Earlier this month Clutch frontman Neil Fallon said illegal filesharing attracted more fans to his band's shows. But Kiss star Gene Simmons said last month that illegal downloading had killed rock and roll.

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