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London police commissioner says that enforcing anti-piracy isn’t working

Though law enforcement agencies around the world are making efforts to curb piracy and illegal downloads, one cop in particular thinks that different approaches should be adopted in order to stem the massive global tide of copyright infringement.

Adrian Leppard, Commissioner of the City of London Police, offered some insight on what he thinks law enforcement bodies should be doing to combat piracy, when speaking at the IP Enforcement Summit recently. The purpose of the conference, which was attended by figures from Hollywood, the music industry, and more, was to discuss issues surrounding intellectual property.

Leppard first touched on the massive scope of the privacy problem posed in the U.K. alone.

“We need to focus on [the problem] in the UK. We know that UK ISP addresses are visiting websites that are downloading illegal content, up to 7 million of those hits on a monthly basis,” Leppard said.

Leppard also mentioned that the Internet isn’t bound by any borders, local, or national.

“The Internet pushes through every border control legislation we have and it is carrying a huge amount of harm to our society, as well as offering creative opportunity for business.”

So what’s Leppard’s solution to the problem?

“When you’re in a tsunami you can’t push back the water and you have to start thinking very differently about how we protect society,” Leppard said. “The only way is to work with industry to prevent and to think about the enabling functions of this crime. Enforcement will only ever be a limited capability in this space.”

Though Leppard makes some valid points, at least part of the reason why piracy is so prevalent is due to the price of content in some situations, as well as ease of access. For instance, in Australia, it reportedly costs $500 to get access to the fourth season of Game of Thrones through Foxtel Play, a cable provider in that country. Foxtel CEO Richard Freudenstein said that this was a “good price,” but until cable companies, record companies, and other stakeholders make their content more wallet-friendly, piracy will likely continue unabated.

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Konrad Krawczyk
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