The Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA) has filed nine lawsuits on behalf of members Adobe and Symantec, claiming that numerous individuals sold illegal copies of software on eBay.
The complaints, filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, make up the SIIA's largest round of lawsuits since the organization launched an auction site anti-piracy program two years ago. They are one element of the SIIA's comprehensive program to stop the selling of counterfeit or pirated software on auction sites, the organization noted in a prepared release.
The most recent round of lawsuits, filed on behalf of Adobe this week, charged Edward Sarkisov of Van Nuys, Calif.; John Baptiste of Hurst, Tex.; Brandon Roberts of Canyon Lake, Tex.; Don Farr of Redmond, Wash.; Beverly Johnson and John Baker of Chicago; Brandon Perkins of Corpus Christ, Tex., and John Baker of Palatine, Ill., with selling illegal copies of Adobe PhotoShop CS3 and other products on eBay.
The latest suits are in addition to two filed on behalf of Symantec and Adobe against eBay sellers two weeks ago. The previous suits charged Corey C. Ressler of Hamilton, N.J., and Joshua McClymonds with illegally selling Adobe software.
"SIIA has declared war against those who continue to sell pirated software on auction sites such as eBay," said Keith Kupferschmid, senior vice president of SIIA's anti-piracy division, in a prepared statement. "Our goal is to give illegal software sellers a rude awakening, so that unsuspecting software buyers and legitimate sellers are protected."
Cris Paden, Symantec spokesman, told SCMagazineUS.com that the developer of security and utility software has made significant strides in reducing piracy. He estimated that Symantec lost $30 to $40 million to illegal sales in 2007, down from about $500 million in 2002.
"[2002 was when] the software piracy problem got out of hand," he said.
Symantec has also "ramped up enforcement efforts" by sending cease-and-desist letters to resellers and working with private investigators and law enforcement agencies, including those in China, according to Scott Minden, director of Symantec's legal department.
Minden pointed to a lawsuit the company recently won against ANYI, SILI Inc., a Chinese company, where Symantec was awarded $21 million by a federal court.
"We also worked with Chinese law enforcement to arrest the head of that organization, who I understand is still in custody in that country," he said.
That arrest lead to a "large drop" in sales of counterfeit Symantec products, Minden said.
An Adobe spokeswoman said that "Adobe does not comment on pending litigation."