Washington, DC (Tuesday, March 13) – Continuing its fight against Internet software piracy, the Business Software Alliance (BSA) today escalated its action against vendors of software programs who advertise on Internet auction sites. In November 2000, BSA filed a federal court action against 13 vendors. Since then, four of the defendants continued to sell illegal copies – despite being served with the suit. Today, BSA asked the court to order those defendants to stop offering pirated software on auction sites or otherwise selling it online.
“The fact that vendors continue to sell even after being served with a lawsuit drives home what a serious problem the sale of pirated software online has become,” said Bob Kruger, vice president of enforcement for the Business Software Alliance. “Auction sites and other online locations are havens for both the casual and the dedicated pirate. They look to make money at the expense of consumers who often believe they are getting genuine product and creators who receive no return on their investment. And clearly, they are not easily deterred.”
BSA, a software watchdog representing the nation’s leading software publishers, estimates that more than 90 percent of the software sold on auction sites is pirated, contributing to the $13 billion in lost revenues suffered by the industry annually.
The motion for the injunction arises out of the BSA’s “Operation Bidder Beware,” the ongoing investigation into the sale of pirated or counterfeit software on Internet auction sites. Four of the defendants, operating in California, Oregon, Georgia and New York, continued to sell to BSA’s undercover investigators, even after having been served with the complaint and having assured BSA’s attorneys that they would stop.
All of the defendants in the November action were identified from advertisements or listings on popular Internet auctions sites, including Ebay and Yahoo. BSA purchased programs they offered for a fraction of their legitimate price. BSA paid approximately $1,600 for programs published by Adobe, Autodesk, Macromedia, Microsoft and Symantec, which retail for more than $50,000. The statutory damages provisions of the copyright law allow for an award of up to $150,000 for each work infringed.
The Federal Trade Commission has announced that Internet auction fraud is among the top 10 online scams. In a consumer protection effort last December, BSA issued its “Model Business Practices on Intellectual Property for Internet Auction Sites,” aimed at curbing the listing, sale and distribution of pirated and counterfeit software programs through Internet auction sites. It also recognized Amazon.com as the first auction site to meet the standards set out in the model practices.
In addition, over the past several years, BSA has filed lawsuits against individuals pirating software in an IRC channel, shut down thousands of warez Websites, and worked closely with law enforcement to promote criminal prosecutions.
Since 1988, the Business Software Alliance (BSA) has been the voice of the world’s leading software developers before governments and with consumers in the international marketplace. Its members represent the fastest growing industry in the world. BSA educates computer users on software copyright; advocates public policy that fosters innovation and expands trade opportunities; and fights software piracy. BSA worldwide members include Adobe, Apple, Autodesk, Bentley Systems, CNC Software/Mastercam, Macromedia, Microsoft, Symantec and UGS. BSA website: www.bsa.org.