Saturday, July 26, 2008

After pirate lands in prison, software group hints at eBay lawsuit

After convicted software pirate Jeremiah Mondello pulled a 48-month federal prison stretch on Wednesday, an industry anti-piracy group announced six more lawsuits against individual piracy suspects -- also reportedly hinting that eBay could be the next one to get hauled into court.

"Mondello is a whiz-kid who used his smarts and savvy to rip off software makers and consumers. We are fortunate that he has been stopped, but there are hundreds more like him running illegal operations on eBay and other sites," according to Keith Kupferschmid, SVP of intellectal property policy and enforcement for the Software Industry Information Association (SIAA).

"The Mondello case demonstrates that these pirates won't simply get a slap on the wrist when caught. They very well may end up doing serious time in federal prison," Kupferschmid said in a statement.

The six new lawsuits announced this week bring the total number initiated by the SIIA to 32 in 2008 alone.

At BetaNews' press time this evening, an SIIA spokesperson was temporarily unvailable to confirm published reports that SIIA members are now talking about either suing eBay or seeking laws to make eBay and other Web sites take "proactive steps" around copyright infringement.

Although anti-counterfeiting lawsuits against eBay have shown mixed results, cases claiming copyright infringement by various parties against various defendents seem to have fared better, particularly around music copyrights.

While eBay lost a counterfeiting battle versus Louis Vuitton in France, a US court recently ruled against Tiffany in a similar case, finding that eBay had taken "reasonable action" to prevent counterfeit items from being sold on its site.

In venues outside of court, eBay has reportedly claimed that it is taking actions against software counterfeiting, too, such as placing volume restrictions on software sellers and curbing most short-term software auctions.

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