As law enforcement and content associations alike slowly recognize the fact that trying to track down and prosecute millions of illegal file sharers is nothing more than a high-tech game of whack-a-mole (that they're losing), they're turning to commercial help in combating the threat of piracy.
American ISPs have already voluntarily signed as copyright cops
. In Britain, the real copyright cops – i.e. the London Police – are relying on payment processors to help put a halt on music sold without proper licenses. Yesterday, PayPal UK announced it had signed on to the coalition.
Paypal joins MasterCard and Visa as part of the team working with the London Police and the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (the global equivalent of the RIAA) to combat the illegal sale of music online. The
IFPI's press release
outlines the process:
"IFPI anti-piracy investigators are able to supply the City of London Police's Economic Crime Directorate with evidence of illegal downloads made from an infringing site. Once the police have verified the evidence, they are able to notify the payment providers who can then take action... PayPal will require the retailer to submit proof of licensing for the music offered by the retailer. PayPal will discontinue services to retailers in cases where licensing appears to be inadequate. "
The alliance started in March and has bagged 24 websites so far. The targets, for the most part, come from the Wild Wild Western hemisphere, namely illegal Russian and Ukrainian download sites. The announcement of PayPal's involvement came the day after police in the US and Britain
rounded up 15 alleged Anonymous hackers
who supposedly were involved in the PayPal bruhaha back in December. Funny timing, no?