SIIA antipiracy report highlights 2005 successes

Piracy investigations, convictions among year's successes

The Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA) investigated almost 300 cases of possible corporate software piracy and helped convict three U.S. copyright infractors in 2005, according to its first annual antipiracy report, released Wednesday.

The SIIA received 366 reports of alleged corporate software piracy last year and investigated 272 of those claims. Former IT staff were most likely to report illegal software, with 60 percent of the SIIA's claims coming from such workers. Senior managers, sales employees and consultants filed 15% of the SIIA's reports, with each class contributing 5 percent. More than 75% of the people who contacted the SIIA had left the company they reported.

The SIIA, which represents software and IT businesses, operates a cash rewards program for verifiable accounts of corporate piracy and issued 13 rewards in 2005.

Keith Kupferschmid, SIIA vice president of intellectual property policy and enforcement, expects that the survey will increase interest in the rewards program and anticipates issuing between 20 and 30 rewards this year.

The report showed that the SIIA's piracy reports did not center on one industry. Fifteen percent of the claims involved manufacturing businesses while 11% of the companies that allegedly engaged in piracy were IT outfits. No other industry category exceeds 10 percent, according to the SIIA.

"The only real surprise was that there were so many manufacturing companies," Kupferschmid said. "Health care and insurance companies are usually our biggest problems. Most of our claims are for those types of companies."

Server titles captured 42% of the claims. Security software ranked second with 35%, followed by mapping applications (32%) and CAD (computer-aided design) wares at 29%. Among other categories, claims for pilfered productivity software came in at 28%, while document management comprised 23% of the allegations.

The SIIA's Internet antipiracy program helped convict three offenders of copyright infringement in 2005. Dashiell Ponce de Leon was sentenced to more than four years in U.S. federal prison and must pay $1.1 million in restitution for selling pirated copies of PC software and video games on the Internet. Nathan Peterson was found guilty on two counts of selling pirated software on his Web site. He was fined more than $5.6 million and faces jail time. Adam Perahia's involvement with a site that sold pirated medical textbooks earned him a child pornography charge, in addition to a copyright-infringement charge and a two-year prison sentence.

In each case, the SIIA initially investigated the piracy claim, then handed the case to federal law agencies.

The SIIA looks to increase its Internet antipiracy efforts and target sellers of illegal software on auction sites, according to Kupferschmid.

"Through the RIAA [Recording Industry Association of America] and the motion picture studios we've learned that you have to go after the person. That has been effective in stopping their copyrighted work from being obtained illegally," Kupferschmid said. "Every month or two we're filing three to five lawsuits against pirated software sellers."

The report is available online at SIIA's Web site.

Copyright © 2006 IDG Communications, Inc.

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