U.S. Embassy, London
April 10, 2015
Office of Public Affairs
U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS)
LONDON — A joint investigation between U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the City of London Police, and the Motion Picture Association of America led to the arrest of a man suspected of leaking top hit movies, including The Expendables 3, on the Internet.
The City of London’s Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) unit arrested the 26-year-old at his workplace in Leeds yesterday morning before taking him to a local police station for questioning.
The suspect is believed to be involved in obtaining high-quality films, which are either only available at the cinema or are unfinished movies that have yet to be released, and then leaking them on to the Internet. It is estimated his actions are costing the industry millions of dollars.
Officers from PIPCU and HSI searched the man’s home in Halifax where several computers and mobile devices were seized.
“Tackling virtual piracy remains a top priority for law enforcement. Too often these types of crimes are regarded as immaterial because they are seemingly without victims; however, when a business suffers a loss, it is felt at all levels, from the C-suite to the mailroom. In cases such as this, preventing piracy is akin to protecting people’s livelihoods,” said Matthew Etre, U.S. Embassy London’s attaché for HSI. “This arrest is yet another success story highlighting what strong, collaborative relationships between law enforcement agencies can accomplish. HSI London values its relationship with the PIPCU and continues to work closely with them to battle against intellectual property crime.”
City of London Police Detective Inspector Mick Dodge added “Today’s operation demonstrates the international remit of the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU). PIPCU has a remit to protect the UK’s creative industries but we are also committed to ensuring the UK is not a safe haven for criminals seeking to attack international businesses from our shores.”
“Working with law enforcement partners across the world, PIPCU is coming down hard on criminals exploiting intellectual property for their own financial gain and today’s action should serve as a warning to online pirates. This joint investigation also demonstrates our close working relationship with the HSI which was recently marked with the signing of a memorandum of understanding,” Dodge continued.
Sylvester Stallone, who starred in and co-wrote the Expendables 3 said, “I’d like to thank the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) at the City of London Police for working with US Homeland Security Investigations to apprehend the suspect in this case. It is important to protect the rights of creative’s around the world from theft.”
Thursday’s arrest stems from a probe initiated in July 2014 by HSI special agents in Los Angeles after the agency received a tip regarding possible movie piracy from film industry representatives.