US PSA to combat IP theft

The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations has launched a new public service announcement (PSA) that aims to raise awareness of the economic impact of IP theft.

In June 2010, the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center (IPR Center) began ‘Operation In Our Sites’, a sustained initiative targeting websites used to sell counterfeit goods and illegally distribute copyrighted materials. Since the launch of the operation, the IPR Center has seized 120 domain names and redirected those domain names to a seizure banner. 65 of the 120 domain names have been administratively forfeited.

The PSA is available on each of the forfeited domain names, with over 45 million hits to the seizure banner that notifies visitors that a federal court order has been issued for the domain name and educates them that wilful copyright infringement is a federal crime.

ICE Director John Morton said the PSA would help raise awareness that American businesses, and American jobs, are threatened by those who pirate copyrighted material and produce counterfeit trademarked goods. “Intellectual property rights and the ability to enforce those rights encourage American companies to continue the tradition of American innovation and develop products, ideas and merchandise. That is why we will continue to educate the general public about the real consequences of IP theft,” he added.

In the PSA video, a street vendor is offering free pirated DVDs to passers-by, but telling them the risk is that the boom mike operator, standing next to him, might get sacked if this ‘theft’ continues.

This video was originally produced by NBC Universal and New York City for their own anti-piracy campaign, but it seems to have been ‘copied’ by ICE for its own purposes, with any mentions of NYC ‘ripped’ out, most likely with the permission of all parties involved in the original video.

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