The US Attorney General Eric Holder has unveiled a new education campaign aimed at raising public awareness about the threat and impact of IP crimes.
The campaign – which targets everything from illegal movie and music downloads to counterfeit pharmaceuticals – includes a series of television, radio, and Internet messages designed to help get the word out about the dangers of buying counterfeit goods, and the seriousness of intellectual property theft.
“These public service announcements will raise awareness about the ways in which members of the public can help us to more effectively prevent and combat these crimes, protect potential victims, and bring criminals to justice. And, with holiday shopping season now upon us, this information could hardly be hitting the airwaves at a more appropriate time,” he said.
“As our country continues to recover from once-in-a-generation economic challenges, the need to safeguard intellectual property rights – and to protect Americans from IP crimes – has never been more urgent. But, in many ways, this work has also never been more difficult,” said Holder.
“Recent technological advances – particularly in methods of manufacturing and distribution – have created new opportunities for businesses of all sizes to innovate and grow. But these quantum leaps have also created new vulnerabilities, which tech-savvy criminals are eager to exploit. As a result, we’re seeing an alarming rise in IP crimes – illegal activities that can not only devastate individual lives and legitimate businesses, but undermine our nation’s financial stability and prosperity,” he declared.
“Make no mistake,” he warned. “IP crimes are anything but victimless. For far too long, the sale of counterfeit, defective, and dangerous goods has been perceived as ‘business as usual’. But these and other IP crimes can destroy jobs, suppress innovation, and jeopardise the health and safety of consumers. In some cases, these activities are used to fund dangerous – and even violent – criminal enterprises and organised crime networks. And they present a significant – and growing – threat to our nation’s economic and national security.”
“Now, as our country continues to recover from once-in-a-generation economic challenges, the need to safeguard intellectual property rights and to protect Americans from IP crimes has never been more urgent,” Holder said. “Through this new public education campaign, we are encouraging the American people to become vigilant partners in identifying and disrupting intellectual property crimes.”
Holder noted that the previous day – known as ‘Cyber Monday’ and recognised as the busiest on-line shopping day of the year, leaders from the Justice Department, the FBI, ICE, and the US Attorney community announced the results of the latest effort to disrupt the online sale of counterfeit goods. “As part of a long-running law enforcement operation, known as ‘In Our Sites’, we seized 150 domain names of websites engaged in the illegal sale and distribution of counterfeit goods and copyrighted works. To date, our joint enforcement activities have shut down 350 websites. And our vigilance in stopping the sale of illegal goods will continue,” he affirmed.
He said the Obama administration had devoted more resources than ever before to identifying and defeating IP criminals. “We’re seeking new ways to share information – and to leverage expertise – with a variety of private sector partners, as well as government and law enforcement officials across the country. And we’re using every tool and resource at our disposal to help secure our nation’s economic well-being and to protect the safety and interests of American consumers,” he declared.