Software maker targets piracy on Amazon, iOffer

The Software and Information Industry Association is ramping up its antipiracy efforts and suing illegal software sellers on other sites besides eBay.

The Software and Information Industry Association announced Tuesday it filed eight lawsuits against illegal software sellers on eBay, Amazon.com and iOffer.com.

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The organization filed the suits on behalf of Adobe, charging eight individuals with knowingly selling software illegally, including Adobe Photoshop CS3 and Adobe Acrobat 8.0.

"In the current economic climate, when consumer confidence is already low, it is essential that consumers are able to purchase software online knowing that it is legal and will function properly," said Keith Kupferschmid, SIIA senior vice president of intellectual property policy and enforcement. "Illegal sellers tempt consumers with low prices, but the software often doesn't work and, of course, comes without the full range of customer support offered by manufacturers."

This is the first time the SIIA has filed suits against users on Amazon and iOffer, though it has brought charges against eBay users in the past and even considered suing eBay itself. The option of suing eBay is not off the table, Kupferschmid said in an interview.

"The problem is so bad it would be silly to not consider all available options, and that's one of them," he said. "eBay has been a little bit more cooperative, and we continue to try to work with them, but ultimately it comes down to 'Do we have a huge software piracy problem on eBay?' And the answer is yes."

The SIIA has been expanding its antipiracy program, and including the eight new suits announced Tuesday, has filed charges against 40 online software pirates this year. Many of those cases are still pending, but many of those that have been resolved have been very successful, Kupferschmid said. In some cases, defendants have paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages, and some civil suits have prompted the Justice Department to pursue criminal charges against online software pirates.

"We applaud the SIIA in its efforts to combat software piracy. The distribution of counterfeit software on any online site is unacceptable," said Ryan Boyce, CEO of iOffer. "We hope that by assisting SIIA with promoting this initiative, anyone who buys counterfeit software by mistake will learn how to report illegal sellers."

 

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