Symantec cracks down on piracy
LAWSUITS HIGHLIGHT DANGERS RANGING FROM FAULTY PRODUCTS TO STOLEN INFORMATION
B Sy Lisa Vaas Earn cash for potential infringements,
y m a n t e c’ s d e c i - and then the group makes
sion to file lawsuits test copies of the software.
against eight com- If the software is illegal, the
panies it accuses of group files suit against the
selling pirated soft- seller behind the sale. So
ware was the latest move $1 far, the SIIA has filed six
in the industry’s continuing million suits and has settled three,
struggle against counterfeit Allen said.
products. Education is another goal
That it was a top-tier of the anti-piracy crusaders.
security software provider The maximum reward the
People need to learn that just
also highlights the dangers SIIA is giving as of January because they see something
to users who install pirated to people who report on eBay or on a Web site
security products onto their verifiable software and and the price seems right,
systems. content infringements they still need to be careful.
The eight separate law- within an organization. Even on a legitimate site, a
suits, filed over the past Report piracy by pop-up ad can’t necessarily
several months in U.S. Dis- contacting the SIIA at email@example.com, www.siia.net/piracy be trusted, he said.
trict Court in California and or by telephone at 800-388-7478. Source: SIIA Not surprisingly, it isn’t
announced May 16, seek businesses that are getting
more than $55 million in in Cupertino, Calif. the real problem is Web sites taken in by pirates—rather,
damages from the compa- Cris Paden, a spokesper- or online auctions, where it’s individuals looking to
nies, which include several son for the company’s task people try to get software buy software used to secure
in California, as well as force, saidcustomers whobuy cheap and don’t realize that PCs in their homes, Paden
others in New York, Texas, pirated software run the risks what they’re buying may be said. Symantec’s task force
Florida and Canada. that the software might not counterfeit. includes private investiga-
Scott Minden, Symantec’s work—and might crash the “It’s very easy to create tors, attorneys and other
director of legal affairs, told machine—or that it’s loaded a Web site that might look specialists who do nothing
e Week that the lawsuits were with spy ware or Trojans legitimate,” he said. but follow up on complaints
the result of the efforts of designed to capture personal For the SIIA’smembers— from victims who assume
Symantec’s Brand Protection information and send it back which include Symantec— not only that their software
Task Force, which reviewed tothecriminalsyndicate who the real problem is eBay, is from Symantec but that
defective disks submitted by sold it in the first place. Allen said. That’s not sur- Symantec should fix it so
customers of the accused In addition, users won’t prising—thehuge volume of they can register their cop-businesses. The group also get updates, leaving the com- transactionsonthesitemakes ies or get updates.
bought suspected counter- puter vulnerable to future policing individual auctions Symantec didn’t sell it, so
feit software from the busi- attacks. Minden agreed. difficult. It’s the same issue Symantec isn’t going to com-nesses. The investigation “[Pieces of counterfeit soft- that’s plagued name-brand pensate for it, Paden said. The
revealed most of the sales ware] don’t come with user or copyrightedindustries that company asks for the pirated
were conducted online, with guides, oftentimes you can’t produce high-end products, copies for evidence, though,
the actual disks delivered in get updates and they don’t such as handbags. and makes purchases on its
single, blank white sleeves work properly,” he said. The SIIA has an Auction own at the sites where the
to unwitting customers with- Jason Allen, manager Litigation Program through victims say they bought the
out documentation, direc- of the Internet anti-piracy which member companies illegitimate copies. ´
tions, labeled packaging or arm of the Software and can report suspected piracy.
activation code information, Information Industry Asso- The SIIA investigates the Staff Writer Brian Prince
said officials with Symantec, ciation, in Washington, said cases, searching on e Bay contributed to this article.