CD replicators landed with $1.5m piracy bill

Should have asked more questions

The Business Software Alliance (BSA) has netted $1.5 million from two CD-ROM replicator companies.

The businesses, based in Central Europe, paid the financial "settlements" following their involvement in copying and distributing unlicensed Microsoft, Symantec, Adobe and Macromedia software.

The BSA agreed not to name and shame the companies involved – which both knew they were selling their goods to software pirates - as part of the agreement.

The body is currently trying to secure screening guidelines that would force replicators to: get consumer ID, track customer payment, verify the content of submitted material, open and examine encrypted software, refuse suspect orders and apply origin codes to CD-ROMs.

It is also pressing legislators in Brussels to implement replicator codes of conduct, and ensure the mandatory registration and licensing of replicators.

"Replicators firms enjoy a direct contact with the customer and can apply origin (SID) codes to CD-ROMs. This requirement can break the entire distribution chain of illegal compilation of CD-ROMs," said Beth Scott, BSA marketing director.

Last year, the BSA seized more than 800,000 CD-ROMs in Europe, and 550,000 in 1998. It estimates that a third of computer software in the UK is unlicensed. ®

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