Ashcroft Gets Tough On IP Piracy
Conducts international internet piracy sweep following creation of Intellectual Property Task Force
Attorney General John Ashcroft announced the most far-reaching and aggressive enforcement action ever undertaken against organizations involved in illegal intellectual property piracy over the Internet. Beginning yesterday morning, law enforcement from 10 countries and the United States conducted over 120 searches worldwide to dismantle some of the most well-known and prolific online piracy organizations.
"Intellectual property theft is a global problem that hurts economies around the world. To be effective, we must respond globally," Attorney General Ashcroft said. "In the past 24 hours, working closely with our foreign law enforcement counterparts, we have moved aggressively to strike at the very core of the international online piracy world."
Operation Fastlink is the culmination of four separate undercover investigations simultaneously being conducted by the FBI, coordinated by the FBI Cyber Division, and the U.S. Department of Justice, coordinated by the Computer Crimes and Intellectual Property Section (CCIPS) of the Criminal Division. As a result of Fastlink, over 120 total searches have been executed in the past 24 hours in 27 states and in 10 foreign countries. Foreign searches were conducted in Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Israel, the Netherlands, Singapore, Sweden as well as Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
In other news, the Attorney General announced the creation of the Intellectual Property Task Force, which will examine all aspects of how the Department of Justice handles intellectual property issues and develop recommendations for future activity.
David M. Israelite, Deputy Chief of Staff and Counselor to the Attorney General, will lead the Intellectual Property Task Force.
"Today's establishment of the Intellectual Property Task Force is a milestone in the Justice Department's efforts to protect intellectual property rights," said Attorney General John Ashcroft. "I have asked the Task Force to look at ways the Department can strengthen and improve our efforts to combat theft of intellectual property."
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