RealTime IT News

SIIA Stops Software Pirates

Two more software pirates are out of the application booty business.

The Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA), which doggedly pursues people who sell pirated software for a discount, said this week that it settled with two defendants who were illegally selling Symantec software through eBay.

Kevin Liu and G.T. Tian, two New Jersey-based defendants in the Symantec Corporation v. Kevin Liu, et al. suit, paid $100,000 in damages, and vowed to stop selling illegal software.

Liu and Tian also provided SIIA with records identifying their customers and suppliers of the pirated software; SIIA said it will be pursuing those sources to prevent any further sale of illegal product from them.

SIIA, taking up the case for Symantec under its Auction Litigation Program, accused defendants Liu and Tian of infringing the copyrights and trademarks owned by Symantec in the company's Norton pcAnywhere, Norton SystemWorks 2005 Premier and Norton Ghost security software applications.

Liu and Tian, and the businesses they run, completed more than 8,000 auctions for those software packages on eBay using dozens of eBay user IDs between October 2005 and December 2005. They sold the software, which retailed at more than $750,000, for about $123,000.

"Selling pirated software, especially through online auction sites, is a growing problem that hurts both business and consumers and threatens the credibility and viability of online auctions," said Keith Kupferschmid, vice president of SIIA's Software Anti-Piracy Division.

SIIA said in a statement "consumers should be extra-cautious when purchasing software through online auctions. If the price is too good to be true -- it probably is."

Symantec filed the suit in a California district court as a member of SIIA's Auction Litigation Program.

Participants of this program patrol major online auction sites to nab individuals or groups selling pirated software; they then prosecute those pirates on behalf of the association's member companies.

SIIA said it set this program up because nailing pirates through eBay's Verified Rights Owner program has not solved the problem.

Under the program, SIIA filed three suits in mid-May and two more in November, with several more suits to be filed over the coming weeks.

Software piracy is as old as software itself, but the explosion in e-commerce and online auction houses made it easier for pirates to sell their illegal wares.

Not surprisingly, Microsoft has been the most active pursuer of legal action against pirates in the last couple years, suing several alleged pirates under its Genuine Software Initiative.