The article by Ben Fritz (“Is Piracy a Priority?” April 29) questioned the Justice Department’s commitment to fighting intellectual property theft and mischaracterized statements of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.
On April 28, 2005, Gonzales traveled to L.A. for a piracy prevention program at UCLA. The event, co-sponsored by the MPAA and Court TV, discussed the importance of respecting IP with 120 local high school students. Gonzales’ message was clear: the Justice Department is committed to fighting IP theft through criminal prosecutions, civil and antitrust enforcement, international cooperation, legislative efforts, and prevention programs.
In March 2004, then-Attorney General John Ashcroft formed the Justice Department’s IP Task Force to examine ways to address the increasing problem of IP theft. Among other things, the Task Force recommended an increase in prosecutors dedicated to IP prosecutions and additional coordination with international governments.
In March 2005, Gonzales appointed a new Task Force chairman and announced that the Task Force’s recommendations would be implemented. He said: “The prosecution of intellectual property offenses remains a high priority, and…the Department of Justice remains committed to the evolving challenges of intellectual property crime in the digital age.”
Gonzales has stated that preventing terrorism is, and will remain, the Justice Department’s first priority. Protecting IP is part of the Administration’s effort to protect economic national security. There should be no question that the Justice Department is fully committed to both tasks.
Chair, Department of Justice Task Force on Intellectual Property; Deputy Chief of Staff and Counselor to the Attorney General