London police seize copyright content by YouTube supergroup the Sidemen

The Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) at City of London Police and anti-piracy agency Web Capio have seized domains that illegally hosted copyrighted content by YouTube supergroup the Sidemen.

The domains, and, were linked to a site that hosted videos by the Sidemen, including those only available to watch with a subscription. Officers believe that the site generated revenue through adverts.

They were suspended as part of Operation Creative, an initiative that sees PIPCU work with partners across the creative and advertising industries to disrupt websites that provide unauthorised access to copyrighted content.

The Sidemen, formed by seven creators in 2013, now reaches over 17.5 million subscribers on its primary YouTube channel and is managed by Arcade Media.

Detective Constable Abdun Noor, from the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) at City of London Police, said:

“Copyright infringing sites can provide a steady source of income for those acting unlawfully, while damaging legitimate businesses and costing the UK’s creative industries hundreds of millions of pounds.

“PIPCU is committed to helping content creators protect the work that they have invested large amounts of time and resource into. Our work has resulted in the takedown of over 4,400 illegal website domains since 2013, helping to protect thousands of jobs in an industry that is vital to the UK economy.”

Victor Bengtsson, Co-director at Arcade Media, said:

“Our creative industries produce some of the world’s best music and entertainment and, unfortunately, some people take advantage of this by exploiting others’ intellectual property for their own financial gain.

“It is important to protect the rights of content creators, not only to support them, but also those who work behind the scenes to help produce their work and ensure they can keep putting out content for their fans. We thank PIPCU and Web Capio for their support.”

PIPCU launched Operation Creative in 2013 to tackle the funding of illegal streaming websites that have an adverse impact on the UK’s creative industries.

Organisations in the digital advertising sector can subscribe to the Infringing Website List (IWL), a list of sites that PIPCU has confirmed to be providing copyrighted content illegally, to ensure they do not place adverts onto them. Around 750 organisations currently subscribe to the IWL. 

Operation Creative resulted in the suspension of 670 illegal domains in 2022, and 4,423 since its launch.


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