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The legal wrath of Sun lawyers has descended on a site which was distributing what the company claims is confidential, proprietary and copyright information. Gerald Karczewski, assistant general counsel at Sun Microelectronics, has written to a site called Sunhelp, claiming that it is illegally publishing and duplicating Sun documents to third parties, and violating its trademarks. In his letter to the site, Karczewski threatened the owners of the site that other sites it maintains may also infringe its rights. The site ran what its Webmaster described as a "Sun rumor mill" but has conceded defeat and removed the offending documents. Sun's legal department said that the site's actions could be punished by a federal criminal action which could bring a fine of up to quarter of a million dollars and jail for five years, as well as civil penalties of up to $100,000 for each copyright work infringed. Said Karczewski in his letter: "In this case, there is very little question that your actions are nothing but willful. Your admission on your website verifies this conclusion. Your admission reads: 'The .PDF files above are marked Sun Proprietary/Confidential - need to know, so expect them to be yanked as soon as someone from Sun realizes that they're accessible from the outside world'." However, he added in a later paragraph that Sun wanted to avoid litigation, and instead demanded the Web site owners return the materials, agree not to violate Sun's trade secrets or copyright rights and remove material that could violate its trademark rights. ®

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