Intellectual property rights, specifically copyright laws, are used in the media sector and they provide federal protection against contravention of exclusive rights, such as reproduction and distribution of one’s original work including motion pictures, literary work, computer software, and musical work. Intellectual property theft of media contents is a global problem that is causing nations millions of dollars. Copyright infringement is protected by two jurisdictions: 17 U.S.C. 506(a) and 18 U.S.C. 2319. According to United States Department of Justice, 17 U.S.C 506 (a) defines appropriate punishment for any person who willfully infringes a copyright, while 18 U.S.C 2319 describes the requirement for a person who infringes a copyright to sustain convictions. The main aim of reporting copyright theft is to enable the law enforcement authority to determine whether a valid copyright was deliberately infringed for commercial gains by the defendant, as stated in 18 U.S.C 2319.
For copyright theft criminals to be effectively prosecuted, the victims must report such crimes to the law enforcement authorities. The first step of reporting involves registration of a complaint at the federal investigative agency, followed by documentation of all investigative steps in order to avoid duplication. The third step involves preservation of evidence for later use in legal proceedings, and the fourth step involves contacting a law enforcement agency straight away. By making contact with law enforcement agency soon after detection of copyright theft, victims find an opportunity to maximize their legal remedies (U.S Department of Justice, 2013).
The federal investigative agencies that should be contacted by victims of intellectual property theft in the media scenario include, National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Internet Crime Complaint Center. These investigative agencies receive complaints from internet-related crime victims and forward them to the relevant local, state, federal, or international law enforcement agency. Examples of local law enforcement agencies are Computer Hacking and Intellectual Property Agency and the Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section. This agency plays a great role in the regulation of the intellectual property theft in the media scenario. According to the U.S Department of Justice (2013), the Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section of the United States Department of Justice has a team of prosecutors who prosecute intellectual property crimes, thereby reducing incidences of similar offenses.
The two statutes, 17 U.S.C § 506(a) and 18 U.S.C. § 2319(b)(1) define appropriate retribution for the offender and potential appropriate compensation and/or restitution for the victim of the intellectual property theft, specifically copyright infringement. Individual who prove guilty of copyright infringement should be sentenced up to three years imprisonment and be charged a fine of 250,000 United States dollars under 17 U.S.C § 506(a) and 18 U.S.C. § 2319(b)(1). The offender will serve three years in prison and the victim will receive 250, 000 United States dollars if the defendant has been found to intentionally reproduce and distribute at least ten copies of the copyrighted material totaling up to 2,500 United States dollars within 180 days. For this retribution and restitution to be implemented, a valid copyright must deliberately be infringed for commercial gains by the defendant (United States Department of Justice).