December 16, 2013

Letter to Commissioner Leppard about IP Crime Unit

The City of London Police IP Crime Unit has been taking action against sites alleged to be in breach of copyright law, including asking domain registrars to suspend sites' domains. Concerned about due process, we've asked to speak to them about their work.

Letter sent 5th December 2013 to Commissioner Adrian Leppard (Commissioner of Police for the City of London), copied to the Police IP Crime Unit (PIPCU). PIPCU describe some of their work in this press release.


Dear Commissioner Leppard,

I’m writing to you about the IP Crime Unit. I would like to request a meeting with you to discuss how the new Unit takes action in response to allegations of copyright infringement.

Open Rights Group is the leading UK organisation promoting human rights and civil liberties in the digital age. With regards to online copyright enforcement, for example, we are particularly concerned about how material online is taken down or blocked. We have noted over the past couple of months the international controversy around EasyDNS, and more broadly how domain registrars have been asked to take action against sites apparently without a court order.

This is a significant power, given that it involves decisions about what people are allowed to look at and do on the Internet.

This power needs to be grounded in the law and should be exercised through a clear and court-based process. We want to ensure, for example, that those hosting or providing access to material are not subject to extra-judicial, informal pressure to take action against their customers. Powers that do not involve the courts will be more susceptible to mistakes or abuse, and those affected will be less able to seek redress.

We would like to discuss with you the process that the City of London Police IP Crime Unit follows when dealing with reports of copyright infringement, and when taking action in response.

We would appreciate it if you could indicate a convenient time for us to meet with you to discuss these matters.

Yours sincerely,

Jim Killock
Executive Director
Open Rights Group