Illegal file swappers, software pirates, computer hackers and others who violate intellectual property laws now face even more resistance from the U.S. Department of Justice.
Attorney General John Ashcroft announced the inception of a new task force directed to strengthen and improve the Department of Justice's efforts to combat the theft of intellectual property. The task force, headed by David M. Israelite, Ashcroft's Deputy Chief of Staff, will examine the Department of Justice's handling of intellectual property issues, and will develop recommendations for the Department's future activities related to intellectual property.
The announcement follows an eye-opening speech given by Jon Dudas, the presumptive Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office, to the U.S. Senate's Committee on the Judiciary, warning that "the economic benefits of capitalizing on intellectual property rights have captured the attention of pirates, organized crime, and - in some limited but increasing instances - terrorists."
According to the Department of Justice's press release, intellectual property industries "represent the fastest growing sector of the economy." Additionally, "the increasing value of intellectual property, coupled with the ease and low cost of copyright infringement, has significantly increased the destructive consequences of intellectual property theft."
The conclusions cited by the Justice Department are apparently shared by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), who cite annual estimated losses of at least $4 billion and $3 billion, respectively, due to piracy.
Recent activity in the Department of Justice, related to the enforcement of intellectual property, include the expansion of several specialized units whose directive is to prosecute those who are responsible for cybercrimes. Both the Computer Hacking and Intellectual Property (CHIP) Unit and the Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section (CCIPS) of the Department's Criminal Division have been expanded to provide additional resources to combat intellectual property piracy.
To discuss this topic further, please feel free to contact the author, Chris Guinn (firstname.lastname@example.org), at Thomas, Kayden, Horstemeyer & Risley in Atlanta, Georgia USA.
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