Border and Coastal Security

Intellectual property theft is a broad term, which encompasses many actions directed towards intellectual property, including trademark counterfeiting, digital piracy, theft of trade secrets, copyright violation and any form of intellectual property infringement. Actual IP theft involves copyrighted works, patented inventions, and many other things. Despite their intangible nature, they can be stolen in their entirety. Simply put: when a pirate steals a sound recording, a computer program, or the chemical composition of a pharmaceutical – he has stolen the product.

The pirated product may or may not have the quality of the legitimate product, but the inventiveness, the creativity, and the research costs that make the product unique have been stolen. Technological advances have made actual theft the fastest-growing type of commercial counterfeiting. With the advent of digital technology, pirates can make actual copies of computer software, recorded music, and motion pictures with no loss of quality in successive generations of copies.

In contemporary context, copyrights are suffering the greatest losses, in part because of the many new products that have been invented, CDs, DVDs, flash discs and many other products, and because of advances in the means of distribution. Although IP theft, particularly, trademark counterfeiting, was widespread in China throughout the 1990s, the trade dispute that was investigated by the U. S. Trade Representative in 1994-1996 involved works protected by copyright: sound recordings, computer software, and motion pictures.

The distribution of works protected by copyright has been revolutionized by the invention of cable television, which involves satellite transmission, and by the Internet, which can involve the digital transmission of copyrighted works such as computer programs, video games, and sound recordings. Previously, the piracy of copyrighted works required the possession of a legitimate product in a fixed or tangible form (i. e. , a book or a music cassette), but these technological advances in the commercial distribution of copyrighted works have offered new avenues for product piracy in intangible form (i.e. , cable programming).

Cable piracy, also called signal theft, involves the actual theft of copyrighted material. The cable pirate, who hooks up illegally, is stealing television programming, which is protected by copyright. In the United States, an estimated one in four cable viewers does so illegally; the problem is worse outside the United States, where entire countries engage in signal theft. The ultimate triumph of digital technology is the Internet, where everyone is connected to a cyber universe by computer, DSL modem or broadband.

The Internet offers perhaps the ultimate avenue for a counterfeiter, who can e-mail a pirated computer program or music recording anywhere in the world, and keep his identity a secret. The adequate enforcement of IP violations is probably the most effective way to prevent infringement of intellectual property rights. Since from commercial standpoint intellectual property usually represents the core of any business, the IP violations result in enormous financial losses for the companies and threaten the existence of businesses overall.

For instance, according to figures presented by the U. S. Department of Justice, companies suffered $250 Billion in IP Theft in 2004 (CypherTrust, 2005), therefore, it is evident that the further enforcement directed towards IP theft should be continued. 2) Fully discuss Executive Order 13133. How can the use or misuse of the Internet affect the economy? Executive Order 13133 attempts to create new ways to censor Internet content, establish control over Internet transactions and prevent Internet fraud.

The core of the Order is embedded in three tasks put before the Working group, namely define how effective Federal regulation is in investigation and prosecution of unlawful conduct that involves the use of the Internet, what technology tools, capabilities, or legal authorities needed for effective investigation and prosecution of unlawful conduct that involves the use of the Internet, and finally and what tools and capabilities exist to educate and empower parents, teachers, and others to prevent or to minimize the risks from unlawful conduct that involves the use of the Internet.

In other words, Executive Order 13133 aims to accomplish an extremely challenging task of Internet regulation. From the critical standpoint, Internet regulation is a hardly achievable mission, because unlike many other phenomena, Internet has no geographic boundaries, and thus it does not have formal geographical jurisdiction upon it. On the other hand, Internet exhibits the line of unlawful, unethical and fraudulent practices, which should be either heavily regulated or banned.

It includes child pornography, illegal distribution of copyrighted materials, such as books, CDs, DVDs, Mp3s, computer software, etc and illegal credit card transactions cased by identity theft. Practically, the misuse of Internet results in significant financial losses for the national economy in several ways, namely due to numerous copyright infringement instances, fraudulent credit card transactions and losses coming from unrealized revenues.

According to Forrester Research, an estimated $15 billion in E-commerce revenues for 2001 were unrealized because of consumers’ concerns about their privacy, while 61 percent of Internet users in the United States reported that they do not purchase online because of privacy concerns (Hemphill, 2001:51). Therefore, the task put for the working group in Executive Order 13133 is practically challenging, but still necessary from security, financial and ethical viewpoints.


  1. Intellectual Property Theft Has Never Been Easier (2005). CypherTrust, Inc. Available
  2. Retrieved on June 7, 2006 Hemphill, T. A. (2001). Identity Theft: A Cost of Business? Business and Society Review, 106 (1): 51-63

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