Total Management filed the suit in U.S. District Court in Indiana. It alleges that the publishers unlawfully distributed and sold more than 200,000 pirated copies of Total Management's software. Simon & Schuster is the parent company of Macmillan and Que.
The software company alleges that the publishers initially sought permission to publish a limited version of the multitiered, client-server-based software in 1995. Eventually, however, the defendants said they would not include the software in their Windows 95 books.
But in December 1996, customers who had purchased copies of the publishers' Platinum Edition Using Windows 95 began calling Total Management to register the software they found inside the book.
Total Management, which says it had not authorized use of its software in the books, called a meeting with the defendants in February. The defendants told Total Management that the software had been removed from the books, the plaintiffs allege.
But in May, the company alleges, the software had not been pulled from the books, which were still in worldwide distribution.
"They clearly broke the law. They have no defense, and it is only a matter of time before the piper comes to town and demands payment for what they did," said Clarence C. Young III, Total Management founder and chairman, in a statement
Representatives of Simon & Schuster were not immediately available to comment.