an age-old crime--stealing. But it’s not about picking
a pocket or holding up a bank.
It's robbing people of their ideas, ingenuity, and creative
expressions—what’s called intellectual property,
does IP include? Things like music, movies, books,
software, video games, even designer clothes and perfume.
How important is IP to our economy? Consider
this: IP is the single largest sector of the American economy,
accounting for nearly 5% of the country's GDP, according to
the International Intellectual Property Alliance. The U.S.
leads the world in creating and exporting IP and IP-related
big is the IP piracy problem? Big, and getting bigger
all the time, thanks to electronic technologies like broadband,
CD/DVD burners, MP3 recorders, and P2P digital file swapping
networks on the Internet. And to add to the challenge, much
of the theft takes place overseas, where laws are often lax
and enforcement more difficult.
IP theft costs U.S. businesses upwards of $250 billion a year.
And it robs the nation of hundreds of thousands of jobs and
as much as a billion dollars a year in lost tax revenues.
why the FBI, an international organization with agents stationed
around the world, takes its responsibility to protect intellectual
property very seriously.
in point, literally. Recently, the FBI teamed with
several Metro Atlanta Police Departments to shut down what
has been called the largest counterfeit and pirated music
CD operation in the southeast U.S. and the largest such ring
ever broken up by law enforcement.
arrested in October, have been charged with churning out 60,000
illegal CDs a week—well over 3 million in all. Who got
burned? Some of the biggest recording artists around, including
Britney Spears, Santana, Lenny Kravitz, Pink,
and the Beastie Boys.
in Atlanta, the operation allegedly included nine production
plants, seven label production plants, a business office,
and three storefronts in Macon and the Atlanta metro area.
Once manufactured and packaged, the CDs were sold in bulk
to wholesalers/dealers for $2 each and then sold to the public
for around $5 at flea markets and other retail locations.
The total cost of the illegal CDs: about $50 million.
can help. To report an IP violation or theft, contact
the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center,
an interagency clearinghouse for combating IP crime run jointly
by the FBI and Immigration and Customs Enforcement. You can
fill out a complaint online at www.ice.gov/graphics/enforce/ipr/iprform.htm
or call (202) 927-0810.
information: See the FBI's
Intellectual Property Crimes website and the DOJ press
release on the CD