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We Must Follow the Money to Shut Down Illegal Websites


Mike Weatherley, Intellectual Property Adviser to the Prime Minister and the Conservative Member of Parliament for Hove and Portslade, is calling for advertising to be cut to websites that host illegal material, which will effectively shut them down.

Mike, a strong backer of the newly-formed Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU), which tackles IP crime across the country, has been working with officers from the specialist unit and the Intellectual Property Office to draw up a strategy for tacking websites that host copyrighted material, such as music and films.

Mike is expecting that a report on the IPO’s deliberations will be available in early June. As part of this review, Mike is working with WhiteBullet and other anti-piracy companies on a voluntary code with major brand advertisers as a first step. The next step will be to tackle advertisers that do not sign up to the voluntary code, which are generally those representing products which are unaffected by whether or not their brand is associated with illegal activity.

In addition, Mike is hosting a session on ‘Follow the Money’ at the forthcoming IPO ‘Respect for IP’ conference on Wednesday 11th June, plus planning to host an advertising event on the subject in Parliament on Tuesday 24th June.

Commenting, Mike said: “Following the money is central to my campaign to tackle IP crime. It’s quite straightforward in that the primary driver for individuals hosting websites with illegal content is money. By cutting off this significant revenue stream, it is inevitable that thousands of websites will simply close down. While the music and film industries have been slow to adapt to the digital market, there are now a plethora of cheap and simple ways to get content legally.”