Videogame makers might finally be able to breathe easier thanks to the intervention of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Thursday, the FBI allied itself with various US entertainment companies to stop the reported billions of dollars lost to piracy. Now, all forms of digital media including DVDs, CDs, and videogames will carry the FBI piracy warning. The warning will be marked by the FBI seal and will read, "The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is illegal. Criminal copyright infringement, including infringement without monetary gain, is investigated by the FBI and is punishable by up to five years in federal prison and a fine of $250,000."
This new initiative was approved by various Hollywood, music, and videogame trade groups including the Motion Picture Association of America, the Recording Industry Association of America, the Entertainment Software Association, and the Software and Information Industry Association.
Digital piracy ranks as the FBI's 3rd priority, falling behind terrorism and counter-intelligence. "The theft of copyrighted material has grown substantially and has had a detrimental impact on the U.S. economy," said FBI Cyber Division Assistant Director Jana Monroe.
"As the seal attests, these are serious crimes with serious consequences - including federal prosecution - to making unauthorized copies or uploading music without permission and consumers should be aware of them," said Brad Buckles, executive vice president and directory of anti-piracy for the Recording Industry Association.
The entertainment industry hopes that this new campaign will spread the word that piracy is illegal. Individual companies will have to decide how exactly to employ the FBI warning -- whether to print it directly on the disc label or present it in digital format similar to the movie industry.