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Intellectual Property Theft
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Courtesy of the internet and the digital age we have to worry about a whole 'nother category of crimes: identity theft, bank account hijacking, password hacking, etc. In the old days someone had to physically steal something, giving the owner a chance to at least prevent it.

Online auction sites are ripe with fraud. If these platforms were serious about combating it they might go out of business as some estimate 50% of all auctions and up to 95% of some categories are fakes.

(A well-known auction website will only take action when a seller has been caught plagiarizing several times in one calendar year, every year a new beginning. Really, the first time should be met with severe consequences and the second time should result in termination and criminal charges.)

Sometimes you are targeted without any provocation or reasoning. Several ebay members help themselves to my descriptions every year without my permission, of course. Who knows how many I'd find with a dedicated search. Some are so blatant as to even steal my pictures!

Piggybacking on all those crimes are companies waiting to take your money, albeit legitimately and without deceit.
I do comprehensive research so that I can be accurate, succinct, and educational. It is frustrating when the law says the offending material must be removed within 24 hours by the webmaster but the listing continues for weeks. And then the item sells for a tidy amount thanks to the intellectual property they stole from me.

Plagiarism, internet fraud, theft of intellectual property, or using any company to deliver said items are felonies. People who do this are small fries so they'll likely escape unpunished. What a message it'd send if they were held accountable.

Some government resources:
One MAJOR problem with formally reporting ownership of your intellectual property is that the DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) requires your personal and/or contact information be forwarded to the thief. The theory is now they can get in touch with you to "discuss" the situation. They know EVERYTHING about you but you don't get the same privilege in return.

Piggybacking on all those crimes are companies waiting to take your money, albeit legitimately and without deceit. They can be hired to hunt down, compile, document, watermark, or otherwise insert code into webpages to track or help prevent theft. Nothing they do is special, just convenient. In the end, fraud still costs money one way or another.

The digital age provides a new playground for scammers. Perhaps the journey into adulthood is complete when we can accept getting screwed daily without going postal.

Posted by M: May 19, 2015

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