Intellectual property theft is a punishable offense in all of the United States, but this realm of white collar crime remains somewhat muddled in many cases. Intellectual property falls into a massive range of topics from copyrights to written works to art to music. For this reason, it can be difficult to list any specific penalties associated with such charges as the penalties will depend largely upon the severity, type and nature of any alleged theft.
In many cases, theft of intellectual property and even copyright infringement may be difficult for prosecutors to prove beyond a reasonable doubt. Issues such as fair use and public domain may play an important role in some cases while in others, it might be difficult to provide enough testimony for prosecution. On the flip side, if such a case is proven, it could result in years of imprisonment as well as costly fines.
According to the National Crime Prevention Council, piracy and counterfeiting activities cost our economy upwards of $250 billion annually in lost revenue. Additionally, the report indicates that America loses over $55 billion annually to copyright infringement alone. With these staggering figures serving as a catalyst, American citizens should be aware that the government will continue to strengthen its intellectual property theft and copyright infringement laws in an effort to get the problem under control. This could mean even more severe penalties going forward as well as refined methods of finding proof of these kinds of offenses.
The takeaways from this blog post are two-fold: It certainly is possible to beat intellectual property theft charges in Maryland and others states; and it is vitally important to seek legal defense help if faced with theft or copyright infringement charges due to the growing governmental awareness of the perceived problem in America.
Source: National Crime Prevention Council, "Intellectual Property Theft: Get Real" accessed Feb. 13, 2015