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Symantec And McAfee Hunt Software Pirates

Doug Caverly
Staff Writer
Published: 2006-05-18

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Symantec Corp. and McAfee Inc., long-established rivals, have joined forces to crack down on illegal online software sales. Certain eBay sellers are the first pirates to have been targeted by the corporations. So far, five sellers have been named in three lawsuits.

Symantec and McAfee are the two leading anti-virus software makers. They decided to team up when it was discovered that over 15,000 sales were made of pirated software-by just a few sellers, and in the span of just a few months, according to Keith Kupferschmid, an executive with the Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA).

This group looks for pirated software on eBay and other Internet auction sites, and they, together with Symantec and McAfee, are beginning to purchase copies of it. Then they sue the sellers who violated the copyright. So far, other buyers and eBay itself are not targets of the campaign.

The five individuals named in the first round of lawsuits have been uncommunicative so far towards the Associated Press (which is also represented by the SIIA). The suits seek unspecified damages, as well as a court order to prevent any future copyright infringements.

The software industry estimates that it loses $11 to $12 billion per year due to piracy, and claims that 90 percent of software sold in online auctions violates copyrights or trademarks.

eBay removes auction listings that are obvious examples of piracy, according to spokesman Hani Durzy. But Kupferschmid said eBay often reacts slowly, sometimes taking days to shut down illegal auctions.

"If online marketplaces are going to pursue the free-market ideals that they aspire to, they must make sure the products they sell are authentic," said Joe Fitzgerald, Symantec's vice president of intellectual property. Software pirates beware: Symantec and McAfee are on the hunt.

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About the Author:
Doug is a staff writer for WebProNews. Visit WebProNews for the latest ebusiness news.

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