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Intellectual Property Crime and Enforcement in Australia

NCJ Number
Alex Malik
Date Published
120 pages
This report addresses the nature and extent of intellectual property crime (IP) in Australia, its organization, social and economic impacts, and the effectiveness of responses based in legislation, law enforcement, and criminal prosecution.
Based on the available evidence, the piracy and counterfeiting problem in Australia consists of the cross-border importation of counterfeit goods and the domestic manufacture of goods that infringe copyright laws, such as films, music, games, and software. Those involved in IP crime range from members of the general public to more professionally organized networks. Based on international research, most sectors in Australia experience relatively low levels of piracy and counterfeiting, with the exception of online pirated television shows. The negative impact of IP crime includes adverse effects on businesses, the national economy, and consumer health and safety. Estimates of the loss to various sectors in Australia are $233 million per year due to the piracy and counterfeiting of films; $677 million in lost sales in 2002 in the Australian toy, software, and video games industry; $515 million in absolute losses in software piracy in 2006; and $45 million per year in cost to the Australian subscription television industry. Current strategies for countering IP crime by enforcement agencies, industry bodies, and private investigators include the use of surveillance, hotlines, Internet monitoring, customer complaints, and notification to the Australian Customs Service. Regulatory mechanisms include the registration of some IP rights. Piracy and counterfeiting may be countered through either criminal or civil litigation or both. Criminal prosecutions for summary or strict liability offenses under the Copyright Act 1968 may be brought in the Federal Court or other courts of competent jurisdiction. One recommendation is the creation of a national monitoring program for coordinating information and data on IP crime. 1 figure, 9 tables, 137 references, and 7 appendixes that contain methodology and supplementary data