The Infringing Website List (IWL)

Posted on: Wednesday 23 March 2016

What is the IWL?

How does it work?

Why should you use it?

How can I access it?


What is the IWL?

The Infringing Website List (IWL) is controlled by the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU), a specialist unit within the City of London Police funded by the UK Government Intellectual Property Office. This unit is dedicated to tackling serious and organised intellectual property crime with a particular focus on offences committed using an online platform.

Together with IAB UK, the IPA, ISBA and rights-holders, PIPCU established the IWL – a list of sites that have been verified by the Police as providing copyrighted content illegally.

How does it work?

The IWL works as an inappropriate schedule and allows you to exclude known illegal sites from your ad buying, selling or trading. There is a new automated interface (API) for the IWL making it easier than ever before to incorporate IWL data in your processes and write it into your contractual arrangements.

Why should you use it?

The IAB Believes in brand safety online. This is now more important than ever, due to the rise of programmatic and the increasingly sophisticated nature of the online advertising supply chain. There is increasing political interest at UK and EU level in what measures the digital ad industry is taking to ensure that it is not helping to fund piracy. As a minimum, using the IWL to make sure you are not placing ads on or buying or selling inventory from these sites, is a good place to start. 

  • Ad misplacement damages the reputation of brands and the wider industry.

  • Brand advertising lends pirate sites credibility in consumers’ eyes, which can lead to them consuming pirate content inadvertently.

  • Pirate sites are often associated with other activities that are undesirable or inappropriate for brands, such as fraud and malware.

  • Intellectual property crime damages industries that invest in producing legitimate goods and content, and costs the UK economy hundreds of millions of pounds each year.

  • Legitimate ad spend should not be funding illegal IP-infringing activity.

Whether you’re an advertiser, an agency or an intermediary, everyone involved in the process is responsible for helping to ensure that the digital ad industry is not inadvertently helping to fund content and services that infringe copyright. 

How can I access it?

1. Contact PIPCU and request access to the IWL [email protected]

2. Set up authenticated users within your business

3. Build the IWL data into your contracts and processes


Related content

A picture of a cappuccino and croissants

Government postpones HFSS online ad ban to 2024

In what is a major win for the digital ad industry, the Government has announced that the implementation of the HFSS online ad ban will be delayed by a...

Learn more
UK Parliament

FAQs: Understanding the Online Advertising Programme consultation

What is the Online Advertising Programme and how can you feed into it? We answer key questions about the Government’s consultation

Learn more

What’s happening with the HFSS ad ban?

Is the Government still planning to implement it at the start of next year? Read an update from our policy and regulatory affairs team

Learn more

Online Safety Bill introduced to Parliament

As the Online Safety Bill is introduced to Parliament, we take a look at what’s changed and what it means for digital advertising

Learn more

Why digital advertising works

Discover why digital advertising is effective for reaching your customers and building brands.