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Michael Tanji

From the start of the commercial Internet, and in the virtual environments that preceded it, computer and network technology have been used to circumvent copyright and facilitate piracy and illicit trade. Today, the pervasive presence of computing devices and the near ubiquity of Internet connectivity has made the problem worse in both scope and scale. The Internet is an ideal medium for such activity because it allows individuals to communicate globally and with a degree on anonymity and privacy sufficient to thwart all but the most intensive and expansive law enforcement efforts. Depending on the type of crime you want to commit, becoming an online criminal is a simple “point-and-click” task, and extremely cost-effective. Serious dealers in illegal content and contraband alike make finding and procuring their products just as simple and easy as legitimate manufacturers and retailers, making it difficult for some consumers to understand that they are participating in a crime. It costs very little to produce a web site that looks and feels completely legitimate. Web site templates can be developed for just a few dollars. If you cannot or do not want to do any work yourself, a web site developer in India can cost as little as $10 per hour. Companies like Squarespace allow you to not only create but also host web sites for less than $200 per year All a criminal has to do is cut-and-paste product descriptions into a template, upload pictures of their merchandise (or copy them from the manufacture’s site), and they are in business.