(Washington, DC) The Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA) today filed civil suits on behalf of Adobe Systems, Inc., Alias|Wavefront, a division of Silicon Graphics Limited, and Macromedia in U.S. District Court alleging violations of the Copyright Act against two software pirates caught in an SIIA sting operation. The defendants, Michael Chu of Los Altos Hills, Calif., and Julian Kish of Chicago, Ill., each are alleged to have sold pirated software worth thousands of dollars to SIIA. Both face fines of up to $150,000 per violation for copyright infringement.
A new SIIA white paper on Internet auction piracy, also released today, illustrates how pirates utilizing Internet auctions are turning better than a 90 percent profit margin from sales of illegitimate software, and reaching thousands of new customers at little effort or cost. Pirates also enjoy virtual anonymity through multiple screen names, and manipulate differing rules among Internet auction providers to data-mine email addresses of bidders on software auctions, creating a direct marketing channel.
The SIIA white paper, accessible at http://www.siia.net/sharedcontent/piracy/news/auction2001.pdf, provides resources for consumers to recognize illegitimate software on auction sites, and includes real examples of emails sent directly to bidders after their addresses were gleaned from auctions. It also highlights the problems and risks consumers face when purchasing pirated software, such as a lack of access to manuals, tech support or upgrades, and no assurance that the software is free of crippling viruses.
A four-day SIIA survey of four major Internet auction sites conducted last April showed that 91 percent of all software being auctioned was illegitimate. Access the results of the survey at http://www.siia.net/sharedcontent/press/2000/4-12-00.html.
"It's clear why software pirates have migrated to Internet auction sites," said Ken Wasch, SIIA president. "Auction sites provide relative anonymity and relatively free access to thousands of customers. It's never been easier or more profitable for pirates to sell illegitimate software - or more dangerous. These pirate sellers will be vigorously pursued both by SIIA and by the Department of Justice."
"SIIA commends the major auction site providers for coming to the table to discuss the problem with the industry, but only time will tell if solutions are at hand," continued Wasch. "SIIA is committed to increasing outreach to consumers regarding warning signs that identify sellers of pirated software. In the mean time, SIIA is in the process of filing several more suits against pirates utilizing auction sites, several as early as next week."
The suit against Michael Chu, who is alleged to have sold 22 software titles with a retail value of $54,745 to SIIA for $144.85, has been filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. The suit against Julian Kish, alleged to have sold six software titles with a retail value of $5,594 to SIIA for $50, has been filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. The two cases involve software published by Adobe Systems, Inc., Alias|Wavefront, a division of Silicon Graphics Limited, and Macromedia.
The Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA) is the principal trade association of the software code and information content industry. SIIA represents more than 1,000 leading companies that develop and enable software and electronic content for business, education, consumers and the Internet. Hundreds of these companies look to SIIA Anti-Piracy to protect their intellectual property rights around the world. Visit the SIIA Anti-Piracy homepage at http://www.siia.net/piracy.htm. Cases of software piracy should be reported via the Anti-Piracy Hotline (800) 388-7478.
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