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UK Report: Taking the Profit Out of AV Piracy – REVIEW – Introduction

Last month the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) published a seventy-page, comprehensive report titled, “Taking the Profit Out of Intellectual Property Crime.”

The report offers an analysis of the criminal profit engine that drives audio-visual (AV) piracy and offers recommendations on what can be done to curb it.

Over the next four (4) posts, IPPI will provide a synopsis to each of the four sections in the report and offer our own observations.

They divided the report into four sections:

            I.         Trends in Piracy and Organized Crime

  1. Audio-visual Piracy: Key Trends and Patterns
  2. IP Crime is Organized Crime: Piracy, Organized Crime Networks and Individual offenders

            II         Revenue Models

                                    Payment Methods

            III       The Role of Financial Disruption in Tackling IP Crime

  1. Advertisement Disruption
  2. Access Disruption
  3. Payment Disruption
  4. Strengthening Financial Investigation
  5. Demand Reduction: Consumer Education

            IV       Conclusion and Recommendations


The authors assert that although they based the content on its analysis of the UK piracy experience, its recommendations can be applied globally.

Right from the start of the report, it makes some intriguing observations that place the international criminal piracy problem into context.

Such as the view that although the perception may be that the same organized crime gangs operate interchangeably between counterfeiting and piracy, (because we are prone to lump trademark and copyright infringement into the same IP Crime barrel) the report found, “There is little evidence to suggest piracy and counterfeiting is carried out by the same actors. Moreover, both trades differ in their means of monetization and enablers (both legal and illegal.)

“This means the measures required to investigate and disrupt piracy are often distinct from those needed to combat counterfeiting.

This report therefore looks at the strategies and tools that could facilitate the financial disruption of piracy as a standalone subject, focusing on the infringement of film, TV and live sports content.”

It also asks what ‘follow the money’ means, “There is no standard definition of ‘follow the money’.

The European Commission’s use of the term focuses on disrupting all opportunities for financial gain, whereas the UK’s IPO IP Enforcement Strategy primarily refers to the identification, seizure and recovery of criminal gain from IP crime.

This report follows the definition used by the European Commission, which the authors take to include asset identification, seizure and recovery activities.


“It concludes that whole-of-system financial disruption efforts are needed to tackle piracy.

Every financial transaction in the piracy ecosystem represents an opportunity for disruption, yet very few financial institutions appear to understand their exposure to this crime type.”


The next post will dive into the research and analysis detailed in the first part of the report: Trends in Piracy and Organized Crime

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Ron Alvarez is an IP investigations and protection consultant and writer in New York City. He is a former NYPD lieutenant where he investigated robbery, narcotics, internal affairs, and fine art theft cases. Ron has since coordinated the private investigation of international fraud and money laundering cases, as well as IP-related investigations and research involving the four pillars of IP: copyright, patents, trademarks, and trade secrets. Ron is a graduate of the FBI National Academy and earned a B.A. in Government and Public Administration from John Jay College of Criminal Justice in Manhattan. He has written a number of articles for various investigative publications, as well as published "The World of Intellectual Property (IP) Protection and Investigations" in November 2021.

2 comments on “UK Report: Taking the Profit Out of AV Piracy – REVIEW – Introduction


    Thank You Ronald
    Good Edition
    I particularly liked the pdf. Download “AT A GLANCE” dimension of the AV Piracy problem
    I wish you continued success
    Tom Manley Special Agent FBI-Retired

  2. Pingback: Audio Visual Piracy – Cybercrime as a Service – IP PI BLOG

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