Officials Clamp Down on Pirated Software
As crackdowns in Michigan, Indiana, Colorado and California demonstrate, software piracy remains an ever-present – and expensive – problem in the business world.
On April 20, a Michigan woman admitted selling more than $400,000 worth of pirated software, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Detroit. On the same day, the Business Software Alliance announced settlements with two Indiana companies regarding the use of pirated software. Also on April 20, the Software & Information Industry Association announced the settlement of copyright infringement lawsuits against two software pirates.
In 2009, more than $8.4 billion worth of software was pirated in the United States, according to the Business Software Alliance. That year, one of every five software products installed in this country was illegal.
“All organizations need to work to maintain sound procedures that ensure they are using safe and legal software to operate their business,” said Jenny Blank, senior director of legal affairs at the Business Software Alliance.
In federal court in Detroit, Jacinda Jones, 31, of Ypsilanti, Mich., pleaded guilty to one count of willful copyright infringement. According to court documents, Jones reaped more than $400,000 from July 2008 to January 2010 by selling more than 7,000 copies of pirated business software at discounted prices online. The software – made by companies like Microsoft, Adobe, Intuit and Symantec – carried a retail value of more than $2 million.
Jones is scheduled to be sentenced Aug. 15. She faces as much as five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Jones agreed to forfeit illegal proceeds from her criminal activity and pay restitution to the software companies.
Meanwhile, two Indiana companies – BRC Rubber & Plastics Inc. of Churubusco and Seven Corners Inc. of Carmel – agreed to monetary settlements with the Business Software Alliance over claims of using pirated software.Continued on the next page