Real Crimes with Real Victims

One of the great misconceptions about intellectual property theft is that it is little more than a nuisance crime. By this faulty reasoning, there’s no real harm in using commercial products without paying for them, and it’s no big deal if someone sets up shop to sell cheap copies of the real thing. But the White House has put the lie to such misconstrued notions by unveiling an important new series of legislative proposals that would increase criminal penalties for IP offences that, among other things, threaten public health and safety, affect national security, or are committed by organised criminal enterprises or gangs.

Released by US Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator, Victoria Espinel, the Administration’s recommendations would not be necessary if they did not address very real threats. Counterfeit pharmaceuticals kill people. Counterfeit products in the military supply chain can compromise national defence. Dangerous criminal gangs are generating big profits by reproducing cheap, illegal copies of software, movies and music. Espinel’s report cited the example of one of the world’s most brutal drug cartels, Mexico’s La Familia, which hauls in $2.4 million per day by manufacturing and selling counterfeit software programs. Original article by Robert Holleyman in Intellectual Property

In the case of software, the harm associated with counterfeiting and piracy is far-reaching. The theft has an obvious impact on all the software makers, distributors, retailers and service providers whose livelihoods directly depend on legal software sales. But the damage actually goes well beyond that because of software’s unique role as a tool of production for businesses in every sector of the economy.

The detection of counterfeit and pirated software is rapidly improving and the fines imposed for counterfeit use are substantial. If you have any concerns over software you have purchased, give LOCS a call in total confidentiality on 0121 747 2717.