SIIA, Adobe Take Online Pirates to Court
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In some cases, the SIIA claims the alleged pirates were also selling educational and OEM versions of the software without the vendor's authorization on a variety of online sites.
Joshua Christenson of Las Vegas, Claude Marku of Woodhaven, N.Y., Paulo Santos of San Rafael, Calif., Ronald Fletcher of Arcadia, Calif. and Matt Lockwood of Denver were among the six charged. They used sites including Softwaresurplus.com, Nikknak.com, Purplus.net, Everythingoutlet.com and Discountmountainsoftware.com as the venues for the distribution of the software, SIIA officials said.
Kaliopi Petropoulus, based in Broomall, Penn., is accused of selling counterfeit Adobe apps on eBay, by far the most popular online marketplace for software pirates.
The SIIA, a trade association representing some 500-plus software and digital media companies, has been on a years-long crusade to thwart the trafficking of counterfeit and stolen software applications for its member companies.
Last month, a U.S. district court judge sentenced a 46-year-old Falls Church, Va. man to 41 months in prison for selling more than $1.4 million in illegal Adobe software on eBay from 2001 through 2007.
While SIIA officials said it will continue to crack down on software pirates hawking their wares online and on the streets, those purchasing bargain-basement applications online should know what they're getting into.
"Software that seems too cheap to be legitimate probably is not," said Scott Bain, litigation counsel for the SIIA. "Buyers need to understand the risks they take when they purchase software online from third party Web sites and auction sites. You may think you are getting a deal, but often these sales are fakes that do not work, come with no customer support and may often contain computer viruses."
"At the end of the day, the buyer has wasted his or her money," he added.
IDC estimates that software vendors lost more than $53 billion last year to software pirates.