Federal authorities have met — and in some cases exceeded — the goals set out for them two years ago when the Bush administration ordered a more aggressive response to intellectual property crimes, the Department of Justice is set to announce in a progress report Tuesday. Under the leadership of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, the Justice Department said it has implemented each of the 31 recommendations made by then-Attorney General John Ashcroft in March 2004. Beyond that, authorities said they have taken at least eight additional steps to combat these crimes, which include the counterfeit trading and online piracy of movies, music and video games. The most immediate and fundamental goal was increasing the number of prosecutors specifically assigned to Computer Hacking and Intellectual Property teams in various cities. The DOJ said that in addition to the five new units called for by Ashcroft it has created an additional seven teams in such cities as Baltimore, Denver, Detroit and Philadelphia.
There are now more than 230 specially trained prosecutors and coordinators assigned to these DOJ teams, of which there soon will be 25.
The DOJ also has worked to build relationships with law enforcement agencies throughout the U.S. and internationally.
The FBI has increased its undercover operations and coordination with overseas police as well as state and local law enforcement. This has led to a 22% increase, from 304 to 372, in intellectual property investigations from 2003-05 and an 87% increase in undercover investigations.
In all, the number of individuals prosecuted for these crimes rose 98% last year, from 177 defendants in 2004 to 350, the DOJ said.
DOJ officials said they also have fostered partnerships with piracy victims including the MPAA and RIAA.
Hollywood Reporter, http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/thr/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1002690755