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.
The following government agencies also play a role in intellectual property monitoring and enforcement: