Hastings Communications and Entertainment Law Journal


Kent Walker


The theft and abuse of intellectual property has traditionally been controlled through civil remedies. In recent years, the prevalence of accessible and easily reproduced computer software and other information has led to an increase in the unauthorized use and infringement of copyrighted materials, making civil enforcement inadequate. In response, policy-makers have adopted a criminal approach to high technology crime. Congress, the courts, and federal law enforcement agencies have enacted new laws, developed stricter penalties, and pursued more rigorous prosecution to combat such actions. This Commentary outlines these new approaches and discusses the elements and limitations of criminal prosecution of information theft.