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Business News (more headlines) 04-09-2004

Attorney General Ashcroft Announces Creation Of Intellectual Property Task Force

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WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Attorney General John Ashcroft today 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."

"I am honored that the Attorney General has appointed me to lead this initiative," said David Israelite. "The Task Force will determine how best to meet the evolving challenges that law enforcement faces in the intellectual property arena. I look forward to working with the Department's experts as we move ahead."

Intellectual property industries play a significant role in the American economy. They contribute approximately five percent to the gross domestic product, employ millions of people, and represent the fastest growing sector of the economy. The increasing value of intellectual property, coupled with the ease and low cost of copyright infringement, has significantly increased the destructive consequences of intellectual property theft.

Well-organized criminal enterprises have recently begun to increase the scale, scope, and sophistication of international piracy and counterfeiting. Given the simplicity of disseminating millions of copies of stolen software, music, video, as well as other products and programs around the globe with a single computer click, and given the inconsistent enforcement of existing laws worldwide, it is imperative that intellectual property rights be reaffirmed and vigorously protected.

Under the leadership of Attorney General Ashcroft, the Department of Justice has been committed to the prevention of piracy and counterfeiting of copyrighted hard goods and online materials. Computer Hacking and Intellectual Property (CHIP) Units have been expanded according to the Attorney General's directive to prosecute those who are responsible for cybercrime. The Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section (CCIPS) of the Department's Criminal Division has also been expanded, providing additional resources to fight piracy.

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