FBI Anti-Piracy Seal

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has finalized a new policy regarding the use of the FBI Anti-Piracy Warning Seal (APW Seal or FBI Anti-Piracy Seal). The new policy provides a general authorization allowing all copyright holders to use the APW Seal, subject to specific conditions of use.

The APW Seal has been generally helpful at deterring copyright infringement when its image is shown at the beginning of all motion pictures. The APW Seal is a modified image of the Official FBI Seal with the words ‘‘FBI ANTI-PIRACY WARNING’’ displayed horizontally across the seal. The use of the APW has been generally used with a written warning regarding the illegality of unauthorized reproduction or distribution of the copyrighted work.

Under an old policy, the use of the APW Seal was limited to large industry associations, including the Motion Picture Association of America or the Recording Industry Association of America. Under the new policy 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, as with most things there are restrictions on the use of the FBI APW seal. For instance, the policy states 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 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.

If you would like more information protection of copyrighted materials, please contact one of our attorneys. For those interested in the text of the reg, click here.