Committee on International Relations
U.S. House of Representatives
Henry J. Hyde, Chairman

CONTACT: Sam Stratman, (202) 226-7875, July15, 2003

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For IMMEDIATE Release

Is Piracy Funding Terrorism?
Hyde schedules Wednesday hearing on links between
intellectual property crime and terrorist financing

BACKGROUND: International commerce in counterfeit goods is a lucrative and growing trade, with a relatively low risk of prosecution and minor criminal penalties. With today’s emerging technologies that allow for ease of reproduction at a low cost, and increasingly borderless trade boundaries, this is an area ripe for abuse. Counterfeit consumer items such as designer clothing, music and movie discs, fashion accessories, and household products are routinely sold by street vendors in U.S. cities and in countries around the world. There is growing evidence that terrorists are increasingly reaching out to organized crime syndicates in order to raise funds and move such pirated contraband. Recent reports and anecdotal evidence suggest growing links between intellectual property crimes and terrorist fund-raising efforts and allege that groups such as Hizballah, Hamas and others may be involved in a multitude of counterfeit merchandise schemes. This hearing will explore whether or not there is any basis for these claims and, if so, what strategies may be employed to best combat the problem.

WHAT: Oversight hearing, Intellectual Property Crimes: Are Proceeds From Counterfeited Goods Funding Terrorism?

WHEN: 9:30 a.m., Wednesday, July 16, 2003

WHERE: Room 2172, Rayburn House Office Building

WITNESSES:

Panel I: Ronald K. Noble, Secretary General, Interpol; Asa Hutchinson, Under Secretary for Border and Transportation Security, U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Panel II: Timothy P. Trainer, President, International AntiCounterfeiting Coalition, Inc.; Iain Grant, Head of Enforcement, International Federation of the Phonographic Industry Secretariat; and Larry Johnson, CEO, Business Exposure Reduction Group (BERG) Associates, LLC.

Questions expected to be raised during this hearing:

bulletWhat substantiates claims that intellectual property crimes are funding terrorist groups?
bulletWhat is the status of international investigations into this problem?
bulletWhere does this criminal activity appear most prevalent?
bulletWhich governments are most aggressively tackling the issue?
bulletWhich governments are failing to address the problem?
bulletWhat are effective law enforcement strategies to combat intellectual property crimes?
bulletWhat legislative responses, if any, would be appropriate? What international cooperative efforts should be explored?
bulletWhat is the most effective means by which to educate consumers about this growing problem?

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