JACKSON — Attorney General Jim Hood and representatives from the national business community are joining together to announce the launch of the state’s first Intellectual Property Theft Task Force.
Hood, Carlos Linares from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and Bob Barchiesi, president of the International AntiCounterfeiting Coalition (IACC), met with members of the press to discuss the expected impact of the joint effort against counterfeiting.
In September, Hood announced the receipt of a federal grant to establish the Intellectual Property Theft Task Force and the commencement of “Operation Knock Out Knock-Offs.” The task force held its initial meeting and training in October, with more than 40 state, federal and local agencies participating.
“Since the initial meeting, we have had a number of cases brought to us for joint enforcement by task force participants,” said Hood. “We have also had several leads from the public.”
According to statistics from the IACC, the trafficking of counterfeit goods and pirated media is estimated to cost the U.S. economy up to $250 billion each year, and the loss of 750,000 jobs. It is hard to overstate the costs of counterfeiting on states like Mississippi, which loses much-needed tax revenue to the illegal sales. That lost revenue contributes directly to budget shortfalls that prevent the state from hiring additional police officers, teachers, sanitation workers, and from building new schools.