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Are penalties harsh for Louisiana intellectual property crimes?

Patents and copyrights, with an estimated value of trillions of dollars, have been issued to protect the ideas and creations of U.S. individuals and companies. The theft of Louisiana intellectual property is a crime that seems fairly harmless, but the government doesn't see it that way. Intellectual property account for a national economic loss of $250 billion every year.

Piracy may be described as unauthorized copying of audios, films, books, photos, software and other recorded intellectual property. In 2012, the Federal Bureau of Investigation expanded conditional use of the agency's Anti-Piracy Warning Seal to all copyright holders in the United States. Prior to 2012, the seal's use was confined to software and entertainment industry groups, which had written agreements with the government.

The seal is used to deter intellectual property theft by asserting the FBI's authority to protect IP rights. The insignia's use makes no reference to whether the property has been copyrighted, only the U.S. government's stance on piracy. Intellectual property owners often couple the seal with a separate warning about "fair use" of copyrighted material – exceptions to the duplication of copyrighted works.

The property the FBI seal helps to protect must not violate federal sales or distribution laws. The seal cannot be used to show the government in any way formally approved the work. The FBI also encourages intellectual property owners to take steps to protect the agency's downloaded seal from being copied.

The Anti-Piracy Warning Seal is backed by harsh government consequences for intellectual property theft. In 2013, a Louisiana man pleaded guilty to using a USB device to steal confidential information from an ex-employer. The 64-year-old man faced possible a possible sentence including restitution, a five-year prison term and a $250,000 fine.

Defendants are advised by criminal defense attorneys to take allegations of white collar crimes, like piracy and copyright infringement, very seriously.

Source: Federal Bureau of Investigation, "Intellectual Property Theft" Dec. 28, 2014

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