SIAA sues auction site pirates

$55K of software flogged for $144.85

The Software and Information Industry (SIAA) has filed lawsuits against two alleged software pirates which auctioned their goods online.

The suits against Michael Chu, California, and Julian Kish, Chicago, were filed yesterday by the SIAA on behalf of Adobe, Macromedia and Alias/Wavefront - a division of Silicon Graphics. They reckon the men shifted thousands of dollars worth of counterfeit goods, such as Macromedia Dreamweaver and Adobe Photoshop, at far reduced prices.

Chu sold 22 software titles with a retail value of $54,745 to SIAA for just $144.85, the trade body claims. Kish allegedly sold six software titles to SIAA worth $5,594 for $50.

The men face fines of up to $150,000 per violation of copyright infringement.

This is the first time the US trade group has tried to sue individuals it suspects of flogging pirated software through e-auctions. According to a survey by the SIIA, nine out of ten copies of software on auction sites is illegal.

The SIIA released research yesterday which suggests pirates are finding more sophisticated techniques to keep up with auction site crackdowns. If sites try to stop the sale of a particular item, such as eBay's ban on the sale of 'back-up' copies of software, sellers simply contact buyers directly. They are also shielded by being able to hide behind different user names.

"It's clear why software pirates have migrated to Internet auction sites," said SIIA president Ken Wasch. "Auction sites provide relative anonymity and
relatively free access to thousands of customers. It's never been easier or more profitable for pirates to sell illegitimate software - or more dangerous." ®

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