UK police seize unofficial Club Penguin website, arrest three people

Club Penguin Rewritten is one of many unofficial sequels to the officially defunct but much-loved Club Penguin. Well, it was. Visit the CPRewritten website today and you will be greeted by a black page with the City of London Police logo, which reads: “This site has been taken over by Operation Creative, Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU).”

PIPCU police detective Daryl Fryatt later emailed a statement to Techcrunchwhere it reads:

“Following a claim under copyright law, PIPCU has seized a gaming site as part of an ongoing investigation into the site.

“Three people were arrested on April 12 on suspicion of distributing copyright infringing materials and searches were carried out.

“They have been released under investigation and, to assist with the police investigation, have agreed to transfer the site to PIPCU’s control.”

First of all, doesn’t PIPCU sound like what they call penguin Pokémon?

Second: erk. The Afterlife of Club Penguin really deserves its own article, but in short the original game was built by New Horizon Interactive and released in 2005 with immediate success – attracting a youthful audience of such a size that, by 2007, both developer and developer game were acquired by Disney for just over $350 million. The game would last another decade before a successor, Club Penguin Island, was released and the original game closed in March 2017.

(Image credit: Disney)

That, of course, was not the end of Club Penguin. While many have migrated to the new game, many others have had serious issues with how the experience has changed. And that boils down to the weird nature of Club Penguin as an experience: it’s a video game, sure, but for those of a particular generation it’s also been the premier social hangout online. People are attached to what Club Penguin was because of what it meant to them at some stage in their lives.

Then, when the game closed, numerous unofficial servers appeared. Disney is famous for letting others use your IP, of course, and over the years it has gone after some of these unofficial Club Penguins: in 2020, managed to shut down Club Penguin Onlinewhich during the pandemic had acquired more than a million new players.

One very good reason for this is that real Club Penguin is designed to be a safe place for child players. Over the course of his life, he’s had his share of controversies and problems, but he’s also taken child safety seriously and has had endless chat filters alongside an army of moderation officials. Unofficial Club Penguins are yet another free-for-all, and Disney cannot exert any influence over what happens to them.

CPRewritten arguably benefited from the closure of other unofficial CP servers and earned ad revenue from its architects: according to users on the CPRewritten subredditthe site also recently introduced a feature that allowed users to watch ads for an in-game gift.

The site is down, the social accounts are blocked and the faithful of CPRewritten have said their final goodbyes: the subreddit users simply posting their last moments in the game / “Our world is crumbling around us” lamented YourNan940, a combination of sentiment and username that pretty much sums up the Club Penguin experience.

A message from admin Thorn posted on Club Penguin’s discord server Rewritten reads:

“CPRewritten is being terminated immediately due to a full request from Disney.

We have voluntarily given control of the site to the police in order for them to continue their copyright investigation.”

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