FBI Anti-Piracy Seal Can Now Be Used By All Copyright Holders

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has finalized a new regulation that will allow all copyright holders to use the agency’s Anti-Piracy Warning (APW) Seal. Shown at the beginning of any major motion picture, the APW Seal is a modified image of the Official FBI Seal with the words ‘‘FBI ANTI-PIRACY WARNING’’ displayed horizontally across its center. It is generally used in conjunction with a written warning regarding the illegality of unauthorized reproduction or distribution of a copyrighted work.

Prior to the new rules, use of the FBI anti-piracy seal was limited to large industry associations, including the Motion Picture Association of America or the Recording Industry Association of America. The image of the APW Seal will now be available on the FBI’s website, and it may be downloaded for use on eligible works. There will be no fee associated with using the APW Seal.

The new regulations authorize use of the APW Seal on copyrighted works subject to protection under United States Criminal Code provisions. Eligible copyrighted works include, but are not limited to films, audio recordings, electronic media, software, books, photographs, etc.

Of course, there are restrictions on the use of the FBI anti-piracy seal. For instance, the regulations make it clear that the APW Seal cannot be “used in a manner indicating FBI approval, authorization, or endorsement of any communication other than the authorized warning language.” In addition, the regulations also state that the APW seal “shall not be used on any work whose production, sale, public presentation, or distribution by mail or in or affecting interstate commerce would violate the laws of the United States including, but not limited to, those protecting intellectual property and those prohibiting child pornography and obscenity.”

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