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Three people were detained in London for using an illegal Club Penguin website.

'Operation Creative, Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit, has taken over this site.'

Three persons were detained in London in connection with an unauthorised clone of Disney’s now-defunct but once-wildly popular website Club Penguin. The business shut down Club Penguin and its sequel, Club Penguin Island, in 2017 and 2018, respectively, although clones have appeared since. The penguin-themed social media hangout site for youngsters debuted in 2005 and quickly became immensely popular, with over 200 million registered users at its height.

Unofficial clones, such as Club Penguin Online and Club Penguin Rewritten, grew in popularity and activity around the start of the COVID-19 epidemic, according to the BBC, although Disney has repeatedly sought to take them down. Club Penguin Online was taken down in 2020, and one individual was detained “on suspicion of holding obscene photos of youngsters,” according to the BBC. Players allegedly went on to Club Penguin Rewritten after that website was shut down.

During a BBC investigation, it was discovered that Club Penguin Online had poor moderation, allowing “homophobic, anti-Semitic, and sexual messages” on the site. According to one Club Penguin Rewritten user, the game is similarly “unsafe” due to a lack of moderation.

Three people were detained in London for using an illegal Club Penguin website.

Three additional people were detained in connection with Club Penguin Rewritten, on “suspected copyright infringement.” All three have been freed awaiting further investigation, said to London detective constable Daryl Fryatt in an emailed statement.

“In response to a copyright complaint, PIPCU seized a gaming website as part of an ongoing investigation against the site,” Fryatt stated.

The website has subsequently been taken over by the intellectual crime unit of London police as part of the continuing “Operative Creative” operation, which began in 2013 and aims to combat suspected copyright infringement online. The Club Penguin Rewritten website currently displays a statement from London police: “This site has been taken over by Operation Creative, Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU).”

Disney has been contacted for comment by Polygon.

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