The U.S. government unveiled a new multimedia public education campaign designed to combat the purchase and sale of counterfeit and pirated products. Emphasizing that the crimes involved have victims, a central theme of all messages is: “Counterfeits Hurt. You Have the Power to Stop Them.”

Statistics and campaign elements were introduced at a White House press event by U.S. Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr. and Victoria Espinel, Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator, Executive Office of the President; Rebecca M. Blank, Acting Deputy Secretary of Commerce; Director John Morton, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Department of Homeland Security; and Ann M. Harkins, National Crime Prevention Council president and chief executive officer.

Among the announced materials are two videos created in partnership with MTV Networks: Premonition, a highly emotional spot for television broadcast use; and It Hurts, a more intimate video story for online dissemination. (Both can be seen below.) Other materials, some of which feature the NCPC’s McGruff the Crime Dog, include radio and print ads as well as podcasts and web banners.

“As our country continues to recover from once-in-a-generation economic challenges, the need to safeguard intellectual property rights – and to protect Americans from intellectual property crimes – has never been more urgent,” Attorney General Holder said in a statement. “Through this new public education campaign, we are encouraging the American people to become vigilant partners in identifying and disrupting intellectual property crimes. With their help, I am confident that we can build upon our recent successes in combating intellectual property theft, bringing criminals to justice and protecting consumers and innovators.”

Espinel later reiterated in a blog post that IP crimes can destroy jobs, suppress innovation in the United States and jeopardize the health and safety of consumers, adding that in some cases the profits fund criminal enterprises and organized crime networks.

Harkins issued a statement, too. “Intellectual property theft hurts real people,” she said. “It damages the global economy. It helps fund international organized crime and domestic gang activity — including child labor, drug trafficking, and violence. Reducing demand for counterfeit and pirated products is what this campaign is all about – educate the public that IP theft is just that – theft, like robbery or shoplifting. NCPC is pleased to be working with the White House, the U.S. Department of Justice, and our important IP industries to prevent intellectual property theft.”

Related links:

Campaign home page –

White House blog post –