This chapter outlines the criminal copyright laws to assist United
Attorneys in effectively enforcing these laws in appropriate cases. The law
copyright is codified at Title 17 of the United States Code. The principal
prohibitions relating to criminal copyright infringement are set forth at 17
U.S.C. § 506(a) and 18 U.S.C. § 2319. Titles 17 and 18 also
number of other provisions that make illegal certain practices which are
inconsistent with Congress' copyright protection scheme. In the past
years, these criminal sanctions have been revised significantly, and the
penalties for criminal infringement of copyrights have been increased.
Copyright Felony Act of 1992, Pub. L. No. 102-561, 106 Stat. 4233 (1992),
infringement of a copyrighted work may now constitute a felony under federal
depending on the number of infringing copies reproduced or distributed in a
180-day period, and their retail value. See 18 U.S.C.
This chapter should be read (and prosecutions should be conducted) with
consideration to other criminal and civil laws protecting intellectual
owners and the public from violations, including, for example, the trademark
counterfeiting statute. See 18 U.S.C. § 2320; USAM 9-68.000 (Trademark Counterfeiting).
Prosecutors are also encouraged to consult the Computer Crime and
Property Section's Intellectual Property Rights Prosecution