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FBI Endorses Cyber Crime Effort

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Feb 20, 2004 12:00 PM PST    Text size: 
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) gave Hollywood its official permission to use the FBI name and logo to fight digital piracy. Although some critics of the decision think the blanket endorsement will confuse consumers and blur the lines between copyrighted content that is available for reproduction, and content that is illegal to duplicate.

The FBI's cyber division held a news conference this week in which bureau representatives granted all film studios, music companies, and software companies permission to use its name and logo on their DVDs, CDs, and digital media products in an effort to scare off cyber criminals from making illegal copies of copyrighted material.

The FBI's cyber division has only been in existence for 18 months.

The new labels will begin appearing on digital media products with a warning that states: "unauthorized copying and distribution of copyright digital content is punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of $250,000."

The new labels will be optional for media companies, according to the Associated Press (AP), and it has not yet been determined when the FBI-endorsed warning will begin to appear on store shelves.

The decision to lend a hand to Hollywood's cause was the result of a joint decision between the FBI and the entertainment and software industries and comes at a time when movie and record companies claim to have been gutted by lost profits on intellectual property due to peer-to-peer file trading.

"This anti-piracy seal should serve as a warning to those who contemplate the theft of intellectual property, that the FBI will actively investigate cyber crimes and will bring the perpetrators of these criminal acts to justice," said the assistant director of the FBI's cyber division.

Whether the initiative will be successful against curbing file-sharers from distributing copyrighted content is anyone's guess, critics say. Although the FBI and entertainment industry see it as an "attention-grabbing reminder to music fans."

According to the AP, cyber crime has recently become the FBI's third most important priority, lagging just behind terrorism and counterintelligence.

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