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October 9, 2012 > Federal grant to combat piracy and intellectual property crime

Federal grant to combat piracy and intellectual property crime

Submitted By the Office of the state Attorney General

Attorney General Kamala D. Harris has announced the California Department of Justice has received a prestigious federal grant to assist state law enforcement officials in addressing intellectual property crime.

The $200,000 grant will be used to investigate and prosecute intellectual property crimes such as piracy and for the development of training programs for California law enforcement officials and prosecutors to improve the investigation and prosecution of intellectual property theft.

Intellectual property crime is the taking of someone's idea, such as music, a logo or a unique name, as well as the theft of any profitable new way of doing something. In recent years, intellectual property crime has shifted from the sale of goods in public places to selling of Internet-based products.

"As technology continues to develop rapidly, thieves have moved their illegal activities to computers and the Internet," said Harris. "This grant will support my goal of being at the forefront of investigating these crimes and assuring that law enforcement officials throughout the state are well-equipped to bring those involved in intellectual property crimes to justice."

Pirated intellectual property was once only available as a hard good, like a counterfeit DVD or Louis Vuitton bag that was only available on a street corner or at a swap meet. Now these goods are available at on-line market places or available on-line as a download. In these cases, revenue is generated not only from the sale of the pirated material but also the advertising revenue generated by the Internet traffic that trades or views their stolen goods.

"California's economy thrives on the intellectual property of artists, creators, inventors, authors, software designers, engineers and so many other innovators," Harris said. "It is critical in California that we protect their creations from theft, misappropriation and counterfeiting."

Traditional law enforcement jurisdictions do not exist on the Internet. Consequently, it has grown increasingly difficult for law enforcement officials to determine which agencies are responsible for investigating Internet-based intellectual property crime.

The Department of Justice's eCrime Unit applied for the $200,000 federal grant to help fund the California Intellectual Property Theft Enforcement Program.

In 2011, Harris created the eCrime Unit to identify and prosecute identity theft crimes, cybercrimes and other crimes involving the use of technology.

For additional information on intellectual property crime, visit http://oag.ca.gov/ecrime.

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