Terms of Reference

Terms of Reference: The Nature And Scope Of Chinese Organized Crime Syndicates' Involvement In Electronic Media Intellectual Property Crime


Determine the nature and scope of Chinese organized crime syndicates located around the world that are involved in electronic media intellectual property crimes or activity.

Primary Research Question

Which Chinese organized crime syndicates are involved in electronic media intellectual property crime, in particular the illegal copying and distributing of U.S. films?

Secondary Questions

1. Where and how do these syndicates conduct their operations? Do operations differ from region to region or country to country? If so, why?
2. What changes are they likely to make to their business model of crime in the next two to five years, and why?
3. What other criminal enterprises are these groups involved in?


The team will conduct open source research using the Internet, print sources, and any available human sources with knowledge of the subject matter. The team will compile a literature review of open source materials available. Analytic methodologies used may include but will not be limited to:
  • Geographic Analysis. Determine the geographic locations in which the most Chinese organized crime syndicates operate.
  • Demographic Analysis. Use a demographic analysis to determine the geographic areas most likely to support Chinese organized crime syndicates.
  • Historical Background. Provide a brief description of the origins of Chinese organized crime – 20th century into the 21st - to put the project into historical context.
  • Case Study Analysis. Analyze previous cases involving electronic media intellectual property crime and Chinese organized crime syndicates.
  • Link Analysis. Determine connections within and between Chinese organized crime syndicates.
  • Business of Crime Model. Show where and how Chinese organized crime syndicates insert themselves in the U.S. film industry's business cycle.


  • Time. The team must complete the estimate within ten weeks.
  • Limited information sources. The team may find that open source materials about the subject matter are limited due to the clandestine nature of organized crime.
  • Language. Team members cannot read the Chinese language and must therefore rely on English language sources and web tools that can translate Chinese websites.


  • Information Databases. The team has access to the Janes Information Group database, LexisNexis, and other news and journal databases through Mercyhurst College.
  • Software. The team has access to analytic software, including i2 Analyst Notebook.
  • Criminology Resources. The Mercyhurst College library has a large collection of criminology books.
  • Decision Maker Resources. The decision maker has access to reports and points of contact that can assist with our research.