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IPR Center and the RIAA announce agreement on digital antipiracy efforts


The National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center (IPR Center) and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) announced a long-term agreement expanding and formalizing their partnership on digital antipiracy efforts today. Under the signed memorandum of understanding (MOU), RIAA and the IPR Center will coordinate public and private sector efforts to disrupt and combat all forms of digital piracy.

Through this expanded partnership, the IPR Center and RIAA will implement an aggressive multi-layered strategy to strengthen the digital ecosystem, conduct joint training events, educate consumers on the dangers of illegal streaming, enforce the nation’s intellectual property rights laws, and dismantle large-scale online criminal enterprises. The agreement will also work to develop comprehensive lead referral packages on the most egregious violators for criminal investigation.

“Investigations into illicit streaming services are extremely complex; these services are typically operated from abroad through multi-faceted schemes that touch numerous countries,” said acting director of the IPR Center, Ricardo Mayoral. “Because of this complexity, our partnership with RIAA brings us one step closer toward dismantling criminal enterprises that think they are above the law, attempting to use the internet to hide illicit activity.”

Brad Buckles, RIAA’s Chief Content Protection Officer added that, “Digital piracy is too big a problem for any one artist, industry, or agency to handle on their own. The expanded partnership we have signed today helps solve that problem – strengthening cooperation and coordination between law enforcement and the private sector to protect digital music and the broader creative economy. As global piracy operations evolve their tactics and innovate new ways to steal and profit from creative works, this MOU will empower creators and the federal government to work together on the cutting edge of this fast-moving fight.”

Digital music piracy remains a major threat to artists, songwriters, and rightsholders – taking many forms from the theft and distribution of works prior to commercial release leaks to stream-ripping. It has caused a massive amount of harm to the industry and artists, reducing recorded music revenues in the United States by 50 percent during the peak periods of peer-to-peer network piracy, losses from which the industry has yet to fully recover.

In response to the rise in digital piracy, the IPR Center developed “Operation Intangibles” in December of 2019 to combat transnational copyright infringements, and digital piracy activities impacting the content creative industries and the U.S. economy.

To date, the IPR Center, in conjunction with Homeland Security Investigations and the FBI, has leveraged vast authorities and international law enforcement partnerships to successfully intercept and dismantle multiple criminal organization’s cyber piracy networks and arrest those responsible.

The IPR Center’s mission includes investigating criminal organizations involved in reproducing, distributing, or streaming digital works without the permission of the rightsholders, which hurts creators, fans, and licensed distribution apps and services.

Under this MOU, the IPR Center and RIAA will join efforts to counter digital piracy and protect a vital sector of the U.S. economy. With RIAA coordinating outreaching and sharing information across public, private, and law enforcement sectors, the parties to the agreement will develop and execute comprehensive strategies to address and combat all forms of digital piracy, using all available tools, laws, and authorities.


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