Software Pirate to pay $205,000 USD

Written by Brett Thomas

May 23, 2007 // 7:37 a.m.

Tags: #auction #ebay #pirate #siia #symantec #warez

"Crime doesn't pay" is a motto often used in reference to illegal activities, and one that should be well-heeded. In fact, there's liable to be another preacher of that mantra soon - a pirate who sold warez on eBay has settled out of court to pay $205,000 USD for his activities. The pirate, who for now shall remain nameless, was selling burned versions of Symantec software on the auction site, apparently reaping quite a healthy return from them.

The Software & Information Industry Association, or SIIA, filed suit against the individual recently on behalf of Symantec, which is a member of the organisation. For those of you who aren't familiar with the SIIA, think of them as the software version of the RIAA - just without the lawsuits targeting grandparents, dead peoples' heirs, and people without computers.

With no legal leg to stand on, the bootlegger quickly settled for the hefty sum, which is actually in addition to the undisclosed profits from his operation. He/she/it has also agreed to help bring down others in the business, which has granted anonymity for the time being. It also probably grants the ability to keep a job, which certainly helps with $205,000 worth of debt. One hopes that his profits weren't made from Norton Antivirus - having to pay $205,000 for that is a crime in and of itself.

The bootlegger was actually discovered as part of a routine sweep of eBay by the SIIA's auction arm. It's estimated that some 90% of software sold on auction sites is counterfeit, so the SIIA now makes it one of the regular watch-zones for pirate activity. Since most larger organisations need some sort of financial backing, bootlegged copies over eBay and similar sites seem like a small, safe cash flow. However, the reality is that the SIIA keeps pretty close tabs on what's happening with those auctions.

Due to the lack of direct information regarding the quantity or type of software sold, it's hard to establish whether this $205,000 is punitive or just the retail cost of the software that the pirate so kindly distributed for them. Either way, it's a pretty bitter pill to swallow and could make other pirates think twice about trying to profit from their activities.

Do you have a thought on the bust? Tell us about it in our forums...or we'll send the SIIA after you.

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