Court fines man $210K for selling software copies

A Delaware man allegedly tried to sell $11,900 worth of software for $45, the BSA says

A U.S. judge has ordered a Delaware man who sold copies of software packages on an Internet auction site to pay US$210,563 in damages and court costs, the Business Software Alliance (BSA) announced Monday.

Judge Susan Illston of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California signed the order against Matthew Miller of Newark, Delaware, in May, but the BSA didn't get legal clearance to announce the decision until now, a spokesman of the trade group said.

Miller allegedly sold copies of software by Adobe Systems, Autodesk and Microsoft on the online auction site iOffer, the BSA said in a press release. Miller allegedly downloaded software, burned copies onto CDs and sold about 200 copies to customers for $8 to $12, the BSA said.

BSA and its member companies accused Miller of offering nearly $11,900 worth of software to an undercover investigator for $52, with the investigator agreeing to pay $45 after some haggling.

Illston's judgment included $195,000 in statutory damages, with the remaining $15,563 in lawyer's fees and court costs. The judge also ordered Miller to immediately destroy any infringing copies of the software in his possession.

BSA and its member companies "rarely take action" against individuals, preferring instead to educate the public about software piracy, Jenny Blank, BSA's senior director of legal affairs, said in a statement.

But in some cases, "the activities of individuals are both reprehensible and blatant," she added.

Consumers should be aware of software offers that appear too good to be true, the BSA warned.

BSA has announced 10 settlements with companies using pirated software since the start of the year, and several more are pending, a BSA spokesman said.

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