Over the past few months City of London Police have been working together with copyright holders to topple sites that provide or link to pirated content.
Police began by sending warning letters to site owners, asking them to go legit or shut down. Late last year this was followed by a campaign targeted at domain registrars, asking them to suspend the domain names of several “illegal” sites.
Most registrars have denied these suspension requests because they lack any legal basis, but some are cooperating. Yesterday another site fell victim to the police campaign, as the sports streaming ‘franchise’ Sportlemon had its Frombar.com domain name suspended.
The sports streaming site is relatively popular, with well over a million visitors per month. For now, these visitors will have to find an alternative as the site currently displays a prominent police banner.
“You have tried to access a website that is under criminal investigation by the UK: Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) This site is being investigated for online copyright infringement,” the banner reads.
Whether it will deter people for long is doubtful though. The site owner has plenty of alternative domains lying around and the site is still accessible on frombar.tv, fromsport.com, gledaisport.com, fromsportcom.com, fromhot.com, as well as sportlemon.tv, which used to be the site’s main domain.
And so the whack-a-mole continues for now.
To stay out of PIPCU’s crosshairs the owners of alleged pirate sites are increasingly looking for safe registrars that won’t give in to complaints from authorities overseas. The Canadian registrar EasyDNS appears to be a safer choice, as the company protests PIPCU’s efforts fiercely.
PIPCU is not happy with these non-cooperative registrars and a few weeks ago the police sent EasyDNS a threatening letter, suggesting that the company itself could be held liable for aiding and abetting a criminal operation.
Thus far police have not followed up on this threat.