THE GLOBAL fight against piracy came to the West Midlands this morning (Friday 1 February) when police raided four addresses along with investigators from the Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT).
FACT, which represents members who create and distribute films, TV programmes and sports broadcasts, joined police officers from the force’s Economic Crime Unit as they swooped on properties at around 6am.
Ongoing investigations into the sourcing and supply of pirated films and TV led police to properties in Wolverhampton (Warnford Walk), Walsall (Dilloways Lane) and Birmingham (Perry Common Road and Colletts Grove), where four people were arrested.
The men, aged 20, 22, 23 and 31 were arrested on suspicion of offences committed under the Copyright Act and a range of computer equipment including laptops, mobile phones, CDs, DVDs, USBs and external hard drives was seized.
Kieron Sharp, FACT Director General, said: “The people targeted today are suspected of being involved in the sourcing, editing, distribution and supply of pirated films via the internet.
Actions such as this help to protect the livelihoods of over 2 million people working in the UK’s creative industries which contribute 6% to UK GDP.”
Sergeant Rod Rose, from the Economic Crime Unit, said: “First and foremost Copyright theft is illegal. But it also has a devastating impact on the economy and can leave you and your family open to receiving harmful content.
“Your computer can also be damaged by spyware and viruses. In the workplace, illegal downloading and file sharing can have serious repercussions for businesses. Spyware can infiltrate systems and firewalls compromising network security.”
“We’re pleased to be supporting colleagues from FACT and hope these arrests will have a major impact on those involved in the pirate ‘scene’ both in the West Midlands, across the UK and globally.
Other warrants were executed today in Derbyshire, Worcestershire and Hertfordshire.
UK Government Statistics on Creative Industries: http://www.ukti.gov.uk/investintheuk/sectoropportunities/creativemedia.html
West Midlands Police: http://www.west-midlands.police.uk/