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The Business Software Alliance (BSA) attacked online auction sites as the devil's spawn today.

The anti-piracy group tracked bootleg software advertised on sites such as eBay, QXL and Yahoo as part of an operation to unearth online scams.

The allegedly dodgy software was traced to vendors in the UK, Germany in the US, and today the BSA issued a string of lawsuits. The 13 accused in the US face damages of $150,000 for each program sold - the BSA says they sold tens of thousands of dollars worth of hooky kit.

It reckons 90 per cent of software sold through online auctions is illegal.

"Many of the people who once sold pirated software programs at flea markets have now moved to Internet auction sites in the hopes of reaching online consumers," said Bob Kruger, BSA VP of enforcement.

The American lawsuits, filed at the US District Court for the Northern District of California, were brought after the BSA spent around $1,600 on software that retails at $60,000.

The most bare-faced cheek involved one copy of Adobe FontFolio - it costs $8,000 in the high street, but was auctioned for just $50. Products from Adobe, Autodesk, Corel, Macromedia, Microsoft, Network Associates and Symantec were also bought by the BSA squad. ®

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