The Business Software Alliance (BSA), the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), and the Rapid Enforcement Allied Computer Team Task Force (REACT), hosted a conference Tuesday to educate law enforcement officials and intellectual property rights holders on how to effectively investigate, prosecute and deter copyright offenders at the federal, state and local levels.

U.S. attorneys, investigators, agents and prosecutors from the DOJ's Computer Crimes and Intellectual Property Section (CCIPS), and the Computer Hacking and Intellectual Property (CHIPS) Units as well as other federal and state agencies led sessions on how businesses develop and refer cases to law enforcement, best practices and case studies on recent intellectual property criminal investigations and prosecutions.

"Counterfeiting and piracy of software products is a serious business, robbing the economy of thousands of jobs, billions in wages, tax revenues and critical investment in new technologies," said Neil MacBride, BSA vice president of legal affairs. "The BSA is working with the Department of Justice and REACT to provide copyright holders the tools needed to protect their intellectual property."

In recent years the DOJ has increased its convictions for Intellectual Property offenses by more than 50 percent and increased the number of defendants prosecuted by 98 percent, demonstrating both the scale of the challenge as well as the heightened attention these illegal activities receive. In 2006, the DOJ trained over 3,000 prosecutors, judges, and agents from over 100 countries on how to tackle Intellectual Property crimes.

Domestically, DOJ has a specially-trained network of 230 Computer Hacking and Intellectual Property prosecutors in U.S., and it has increased its efforts in Asia and Central and Eastern Europe to coordinate investigations with international law enforcement bodies. International collaboration is pivotal in most Intellectual Property investigations and bilateral agreements are in place with most other countries that allow suspected assets and evidence to be frozen and seized to support criminal prosecutions.