And the anti-pirate of the year is....

Anne Broache Staff Writer, CNET News.com
Anne Broache
covers Capitol Hill goings-on and technology policy from Washington, D.C.
Anne Broache

Not content to stop at applauding software piracy convictions and suing alleged sellers of the illegal copies throughout the years, the Software and Information Industry Association has launched a new strategy: giving a pat on the back to what it considers the year's most skilled pirate-fighters.

The Washington-based trade association on Monday said it planned to bestow its first-ever Anti-Piracy Leadership Award upon Jay Prahbu, a trial attorney since 2002 with the U.S. Department of Justice's computer crime and intellectual property section.

"Mr. Prahbu's work to take down some of the worst piracy offenders makes him very deserving of our first annual award," SIIA president Ken Wasch said in a statement. SIIA counts more than 800 software and information companies as members, including Adobe Systems, Apple, Oracle, Sun Microsystems and Symantec.

Prahbu led a handful of high-profile piracy prosecutions last year, according to SIIA. In one such case, a Florida man was sentenced to six years in prison and ordered to pay more than $4.1 million in restitution to software makers after pleading guilty to copyright charges in connection with multimillion-dollar sales of pirated Autodesk, Adobe Systems and Macromedia wares.

The group said it plans select new individuals or organizations as winners on an annual basis.