SPA files Internet piracy suit

The Software Publishers Association has filed a lawsuit against a US man for alleged illegal distribution of software over the Internet.

Pitched as the first case to tackle piracy on the Internet, the Software Publishers Association has filed a lawsuit against a US man for alleged illegal distribution of software over the Internet.

The civil suit against Max Butler, who lives in the Seattle area, alleges that Butler uploaded copyrighted software to an FTP site that was run by an Internet service provider (ISP), SPA officials say. Butler could not be reached for immediate comment, since there is no telephone listing under his name at his last known address.

The SPA filed the suit last week in US District Court in Seattle, on behalf of Cinco Networks, Symantec and Traveling Software, SPA officials say. The SPA is still trying to find Butler to serve him with the complaint, officials say.

The SPA is not suing ABWAM, a Colorado-based ISP that Butler allegedly used for his FTP site, because AGWAM alerted the SPA to the violation and co-operated with the investigation, officials say. AGWAM noticed that large files had been uploaded to its FTP site, officials say.

Legislation pending in the US Congress would make companies that control networks on which data is stored or transmitted, such as ISPs, liable for copyright infringement. The SPA opposes this legislation, however, since it has been modified to limit the amount of money and legal relief that can be recovered from an ISP, according to an SPA official.

"We believe current copyright law gives us what we need," says Peter Beruk, who works in domestic antipiracy matters at the SPA.

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