On a regular basis, major media companies and their associates seek assistance from the authorities in order to curb copyright infringement.
In some cases, this has resulted in special police units that have piracy among their main objectives, such as The City of London Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) in the UK.
Over in Denmark, the Government greenlighted a similar initiative last week. Justice Minister Søren Pape Poulsen approved a new task force that will operate under police wings, with an exclusive focus on intellectual property crimes.
“This is the culmination of a joint effort among Danish trade organizations’ calls for public engagement in the enforcement of IP crime in Denmark,” Maria Fredenslund, CEO of the local anti-piracy group RettighedsAlliancen (Rights Alliance) tells TorrentFreak.
“Similar to the PIPCU unit in the UK the task force will be specialized in IP crime and will handle existing cases and develop digital enforcement,” she adds.
The new unit will consist of five or six investigators, who will be assisted by prosecutors. The main goal will be to tackle organized crime on as many levels as possible.
The new police task force will first operate on a trial basis. After the first half year, the Government will evaluate its progress and decide if the project will continue. If that happens, the unit may also get involved in website blocking efforts.
Pirate site blockades are not new in Denmark, but thus far these have been the result of civil procedures initiated by copyright holders. According to new plans, which still have to be approved, legislation that’s currently used to block terrorist content may be used against pirate sites as well.
“The Government will look into the possibility to give the police authority to carry out blockades of infringing websites,” Fredenslund says.
This would be possible under a provision in the Administration of Justice Act, which the Danish Parliament recently adopted. While the blocking requests would be submitted by the police unit, instead of copyright holders, a court still has to approve them.
“The decision to block a website is made with a court order by request of the police. The court order shall list the specific circumstances that prove the conditions for the blocking of the website have been met. The court order may be revoked at any time,” the relevant provision reads.
For the time being, the new anti-piracy task force will focus on handling other copyright infringement cases, which these are plenty of.
Rights Alliance is happy with the help they are getting. The anti-piracy group has been working on their own “piracy disruption machine” in recent months and with assistance from law enforcement, they hope to achieve some good results soon.
For now, however, the private blocking requests are continuing as well.
Just yesterday the District Court in Frederiksberg issued an order (pdf) in favor of the Rights Alliance, requiring a local ISP to block dozens of Popcorn Time related domain names. As part of a voluntary agreement, this block will be implemented by other Internet providers as well.