FBI Expands Right to Use Anti-Piracy Warning Seal

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In 2003, the FBI created its Anti-Piracy Warning Seal Program to assist in deterring illegal copying and distribution of copyrighted works and to increase public awareness of the penalties associated with piracy. Previously, the use of the seal was limited to members of the five entertainment and software industry associations that had entered into formal agreements with the FBI. The associations were responsible for administering their members’ use of the seal and for recordkeeping. The FBI, however, routinely received additional requests for use from copyright holders who were not members of these five associations. To address what appeared to be a more widespread desire to use the seal, the FBI began rulemaking proceedings to facilitate an expansion of the program. After public comments on the proposed rule permitting wider use by copyright holders of the seal, the FBI issued a final rule on July 13 allowing all copyright holders to use the seal. Authorization for Use of the FBI Anti-Piracy Warning Seal, 77 Fed. Reg. 41,316 (July 13, 2012) (to be codified at 41 C.F.R. pt. 128-1), available here.

Use of the Seal

The copyrighted work on which the seal appears does not have to be registered before the seal can be used. It can appear on, or in connection with, registered and unregistered works. The seal, however, can only be used immediately adjacent to the following authorized warning language: The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of a copyrighted work is illegal ...

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