Attorney General Kamala D. Harris Announces Receipt of Federal Grant to Combat Piracy and Intellectual Property Crime

Wednesday, October 3, 2012
Contact: (415) 703-5837, agpressoffice@doj.ca.gov

SACRAMENTO -- Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today announced that the California Department of Justice has been awarded 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 selling of goods in public places to the selling of Internet-based products.

"As technology continues to develop rapidly, thieves have moved their illegal activities to computers and the Internet," said Attorney General 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."

Because traditional law enforcement jurisdictions do not exist on the Internet, 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.

Last year, Attorney General 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 please visit: http://oag.ca.gov/ecrime.

# # #