Beneficiaries of Misconduct: A Direct Approach to IT Theft

Author(s): 
Andrew F. Popper
Publication Date: 
July 30, 2012

ACS is pleased to distribute “Beneficiaries of Misconduct: A Direct Approach to IT Theft,” an Issue Brief by Andrew F. Popper, Professor of Law at American University Washington College of Law. As large-scale theft of information technology and intellectual property becomes an increasingly serious problem for U.S. manufacturers competing in the global market, new and better enforcement mechanisms are essential, Popper asserts.

In the Issue Brief, Popper calls for the deployment of unfair competition law at both the state and federal level to address the “pernicious effect on fair market pricing” of IT theft. Moreover, “Companies profiting from stolen IT are not just free-riding on the successes of those who design and produce the products and ideas that drive the U.S. economy—they are destabilizing the pricing market and distorting lawful competition,” Popper writes. He recommends the use of both the Federal Trade Commission Act and state unfair trade practices laws modeled after the FTCA to crack down on IT theft. But he also points to state laws in Washington and Louisiana that specifically address the competitive harms caused by IT theft as models for other state legislatures to follow. “Regulatory and legislative initiatives are needed not just to stimulate creation and invention but to insure a level and vibrant competitive playing field and some modicum of justice for those whose work has been stolen....”