We are the UK regulator for content, goods and services charged to a phone bill.

PhonepayPlus works with premium rate industry to combat infringing websites

02 November 2011

PhonepayPlus, the body that regulates premium rate services (PRS) in the UK, is working with the City of London Police and IFPI, which represents the recording industry worldwide, to proactively prevent online copyright infringement.

Under the arrangement, PhonepayPlus will be informed of named websites that are selling unlicensed music so it can inform the trade bodies representing phone paid services who will then distribute the details to their members. This ensures individual phone paid operators will be aware of the illegal nature of any unlicensed websites that may approach them to provide payment services. Where PhonepayPlus is asked directly by IFPI or CoLP to assist with their investigations or preventative activity in relation to pirated music downloads offered using PRS, PhonepayPlus will act on such requests to the full extent of their powers. 

The details of these unlicensed services will be obtained by IFPI anti-piracy investigators who will supply the City of London Police's Economic Crime Directorate with evidence of illegal downloads made from infringing sites. The police will review this evidence and if a case is proven against a service they will notify PhonepayPlus of its details. 

Police officers have passed on the details of 24 infringing websites to date and are currently investigating the details of a further 38 unlicensed services.

MasterCard, PayPal and Visa are already working with the City of London Police and IFPI to ensure their payment services are not used by websites whose operations are based on copyright infringement.

Frances Moore, Chief Executive of IFPI, says: “PhonepayPlus is making a welcome proactive commitment to help us tackle digital piracy. Pirate websites hoping to use phone payment services as a replacement for the credit card facilities withdrawn from their sites will find they are unable to do so. These illegal business that rip-off artists, songwriters and record producers are finding it ever harder to continue to ply their lucrative trade.” 

Paul Whiteing, Chief Executive of PhonepayPlus said “As a proactive regulator, we are pleased to be working with the IFPI to ensure that we stop before it starts copyright infringement using the PRS payment mechanism. Although we have not seen problems in the UK PRS market where copyright infringement is concerned, we want to pre-empt such problems before they start. We are working with PRS providers and the trade bodies who represent them to make sure a clear message goes out –  there is no place in the UK PRS market for illegal content that infringes copyright.”  

Det Supt Bob Wishart, City of London Police, says: “PhonepayPlus, the IFPI and the City of London Police are taking significant steps to clamp down on copyright infringement in the UK, a crime that continues to drain the lifeblood from the music industry. By working in close collaboration we are making sure that payment avenues previously open to fraudsters to facilitate digital piracy are being blocked even before they have had the chance to exploit them. This proactive approach also sends out a clear message that copyright infringement will not be tolerated in this country.”

PhonepayPlus has issued a
Compliance Update on the ‘Provision of illegal music downloads using premium rate service billing’ . All PRS providers should read this update carefully.

For more information, contact:

Adrian Strain/Alex Jacob
+44 (0)207 878 7939/40

+44 (0) 207 940 7440

Notes to editors:

About IFPI
IFPI is the organisation that promotes the interests of the international recording industry worldwide. Its membership comprises some 1,400 major and independent companies in more than 66 countries. It also has affiliated industry national groups in 45 countries. IFPI’s mission is to promote the value of recorded music, safeguard the rights of record producers and expand the commercial uses of recorded music in all markets where its members operate.

About PhonepayPlus
PhonepayPlus is the organisation (previously known as ICSTIS) that regulates premium rate services in the UK – the goods and services that you can buy by charging the cost to your phone bill and mobile pre-pay account. Further details of its work can be found at