Justice Department launches public education campaign to fight copyright theft

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MTV Networks partnered with the Justice Department to create a television ad that warns consumers that buying counterfeit products can support violent gangs.

"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 intellectual property 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.”

The campaign will also include materials delivered through social media, such as Web banners and podcasts.

"Make no mistake: [intellectual property] crimes are anything but victimless," Holder said. "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 jeopardize the health and safety of consumers. In some cases, these activities are used to fund dangerous — and even violent — criminal enterprises and organized crime networks. And they present a significant — and growing — threat to our nation’s economic and national security."

The campaign is a collaboration with the National Crime Prevention Council, a nonprofit organization famous for its McGruff the Crime Dog character.

Director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement John Morton, Acting Deputy Secretary of Commerce Rebecca Blank and Assistant Attorney General at the Office of Justice Programs Laurie Robinson also attended the event at the White House.