Complaint Center

Jurisdictional issues related to intellectual property theft, as well as issues of retribution and compensation, may create additional challenges when the theft occurs in cyberspace. Questions arise regarding where a complaint should be registered and which law enforcement agencies are responsible for responding. Due to the complexity of these matters, the federal government set up the Internet Crime Complaint Center (ICCC). The ICCC receives Internet-related criminal complaints and directs them to the appropriate federal, state, local, or international law enforcement or regulatory agency.

For this assignment, review the media scenario transcript below “Intellectual Property.” Think about jurisdictional issues related to the intellectual property theft and which law enforcement agencies might respond to the crime. Then consider appropriate retribution for the offender and appropriate compensation and/or restitution for the victim.

The Assignment (2–3 pages)

  • Explain potential jurisdictional issues in the reporting of the intellectual property theft in the media scenario.
  • Explain what role, if any, local, state, and/or federal law enforcement might have in the regulation of the intellectual property theft in the media scenario.
  • Explain potential appropriate retribution for the offender and potential appropriate compensation and/or restitution for the victim of the intellectual property theft.

Support your Application Assignment with specific references to all resources used in its preparation. You are to provide a reference list for all resources, including those in the Learning Resources for this course.

  • Course Text: Taylor, R. W., Fritsch, E. J., & Liederbach, J. (2015). Digital crime and digital terrorism. (3rd ed.).
    • Chapter 11, “Law Enforcement Roles and Responses”
  • Article: Coenen, R. D., Greenberg, J. H., & Reisinger, P. K. (2011). Intellectual property crimes. American Criminal Law Review, 48(2), 849–903.
  • Article: McCuistion, J. G. (2011). Culpable discord: Defining the limitations of contributory liability in Internet-based file sharing. 
  • Article: Sullivan, B. (2011, May 24). That famous space shuttle photo: When is sharing stealing? [Web log post]. The Red Tape Chronicles on 
  • Article: Yeh, B. T. (2008). Intellectual property rights violations: Federal civil remedies and criminal penalties related to copyrights, trademarks, and patents (CRS Report for Congress RL34109).
  • Article: Yu, P. K. (2011). Digital copyright and confuzzling rhetoric. Vanderbilt Journal of Entertainment and Technology Law, 13(4), 881–939.

Web Resources

  • U.S. Department of Justice, Computer Crime & Intellectual Property Section. (n.d.). Reporting computer, Internet-related, or intellectual property crime.
  • U.S. Department of Justice, Computer Crime & Intellectual Property Section, Criminal Division (2006). Prosecuting intellectual property crimes (3rd ed.).

TRANSCRIPT:Intellectual Property

[The scene starts with an artist, Jill, looking out of a window in her studio. She is painting the tree she sees from the window. ]

NARRATOR: This is Jill. She’s an artist in the city of Baltimore, Maryland. Jill has been painting landscapes for years, and this particular picture is very special to her, because Jill intends to sell this original work at the upcoming Winter Art Expo in New York City. If Jill can sell even one painting at this expo, she knows she’ll earn at least enough money to keep painting for another year.

[Jill pulls out her cell phone and takes a picture of the painting. She then posts the picture on a social networking site.]

Jill isn’t a household name in the art world, but she does have her fans and they like to see what she’s working on next. So Jill posts a picture of her work-inprogress on Social City so her fans can follow along with her progress.

[On Jill’s cell phone it reads, “Paul likes this!” As the screen pulls back from the cell phone image Paul is seated at his computer looking at the photo on his desktop.]

Paul is one of Jill’s fans. Paul is also a painter who lives in New York City, and Paul likes Jill’s new painting a lot– maybe too much.

[Paul walks over to his easel near a window in his studio and begins painting. The scene then shifts to Jill walking into the Winter Expo exhibit with a wrapped painting underneath her arm. As she enters the building she sees camera bulbs flashing. Jill then sees a nearly identical painting as the one she brought hanging on the wall with a sign above it that reads, “SOLD $10,000.” She also sees Paul shaking hands with the person who purchased the painting.]

Did a crime take place here? Do Paul’s actions constitute theft of Jill’s intellectual property?

[Jill is glaring at Paul and gritting her teeth.]

If so, to who should Jill report this alleged theft: the New York City Police, the Maryland State Police, maybe a Federal Agency? How much is this theft worth? Who should determine the amount of potential damages Paul may have caused Jill if he actually caused any? 

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