Intellectual property refers to ideas or creations that belong to a person or group. They can be inventions, songs, artistic works and designs to name a few examples.
There are three laws that protect intellectual property in the United States. Under these laws, it is possible to serve jail time, but usually the offender pays a large fine to compensate the creators of stolen content.
Copyright: Protects the creators of "literary, dramatic, artistic, and certain other works" according to the U.S. Copyright Office
Patents: Protects the rights of inventors for a "limited period of time in exchange for public disclosure of the invention", according to the U.S. Patent And Trademark Office
Trademarks: Protects a brand "name, symbol, word, or device used in commerce to distinguish the services of one provider from another" according to the U.S. Patent And Trademark Office.