SIIA Extends Piracy Dragnet to Europe

The trade association filed its first software piracy lawsuits in Europe in its latest effort to protect member companies from being ripped off on eBay.

Five months after expanded its policing of counterfeit software applications to Europe, the Software and Information Industry Association (SIIA) has filed a trio of lawsuits in Germany and the UK accusing online sellers of hawking stolen or knock-off versions of Adobe Systems' applications on eBay.

SIIA, a trade association representing roughly 500 software and digital content companies, has been on a mission to eliminate or at least reduce the rampant sale of stolen or counterfeit software on popular e-commerce sites -- most notably eBay (NASDAQ: EBAY).

"These lawsuits represent a new front in our war on software piracy," Keith Kupferschmid, SIIA's senior vice president of intellectual property policy and enforcement, said in a statement. "With monitoring and enforcement under way in Europe, SIIA is now working to stop software pirates who swindle consumers and companies around the globe."

On behalf of Adobe (NASDAQ: ADBE), SIIA has investigated and filed three lawsuits against online merchants who allegedly sold counterfeit or unauthorized copies of Adobe software on eBay. Because the cases are ongoing, names and seller IDs cannot be revealed at this time, officials said.

In January, SIIA began monitoring and investigating likely or known pirates operating in Europe. SIIA officials said its investigators were able to generate leads and use local investigators to buy products from suspected software pirates in order to confirm if the products were counterfeit. If sellers bought counterfeit software elsewhere, SIIA also launched an investigation to identify the original suppliers.

In the past three years, SIIA has filed more than 100 lawsuits against alleged pirates using eBay as the marketplace for counterfeit applications, a shadow industry that generated more than $53 billion in revenue in 2009 alone, according to IDC.

"If the price of software seems too low, it is probably counterfeit or otherwise illegal," Kupferschmid added. "In these new cases, the sellers did not necessarily create the counterfeit software they sold -- some purchased it cheaply from an illegitimate source and sold it again for a profit."

Larry Barrett is a senior editor at, the news service of, the network for technology professionals.

Tags: software, lawsuits, piracy, eBay, SIIA

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