Welcome back to V.i. Labs’ weekly update on software piracy and copyright infringement. In this edition: a chief scientist for a US defense contractor pleads guilty and is sentenced for software piracy, Spain gets ready for software piracy crackdown and torrent website IsoHunt loses court battle.
Wronald Best, 55, was sentenced last Monday to a year in federal prison after pleading guilty to charges of software piracy. Through the website crack99.com, Best paid $6,000 to receive more than 60 applications, which would normally have been valued at over $2.3 Million. He used those applications at MPD, a defense contractor in Kentucky where Best was Chief Scientist.
Best reportedly used the pirated software to work on several high profile projects including Patriot missile and military helicopter components used in both the Blackhawk and Marine One, the helicopter used by the President of the United States. Authorities released a statement saying they “have no reason to believe [Best’s] use of the cracked software affected the products in any negative way.”
When asked to explain his behavior Best replied, “I have … an insatiable curiosity to learn new things and to learn new ways of solving problems… I was compelled to do this. That is the honest answer I can provide.”
It’s no secret that copyright violations are widespread in Spain. The Spanish Government’s lack of significant copyright enforcement has even prompted the International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA) to recommend to the US Trade Representative that it put Spain back on its annual Special 301 watch list for countries with alarmingly negligent copyright enforcement.
In response, Spain has drafted a bill to increase copyright protection and enforcement. The proposed legislation would punish websites that repeatedly fail to remove pirated content with fines from €30,000 to €300,000. There are also provisions to punish advertisers and payment services companies that work with website dedicated to piracy.
Jose Ignacio Wert, Education and Culture Minister, said the idea is to enforce “a philosophy of going after large-scale distributors of illicit material”.
After losing a court case against major content owners in 2009, the torrent website Isohunt was hit with a court injunction requiring it to filter out searches for copyrighted material. Gary Fung, operator of IsoHunt, appealed the injunction but lost his appeal last week.
The court ruled that the injunction will stay in place but will be modified so that some unduly burdensome language, which could be interpreted as a ban on Mr. Fung ever working in the tech industry, is removed.
Questions, comments? Is there a story or topic you’d like to see covered in depth? Please leave a comment below or visit us at our Software Piracy Initiatives Forum and discuss the topics with experts in the field.
Marketing Director at Revulytics
Michael is Marketing Director at Revulytics where he is responsible for corporate marketing, content, and social media. He has helped to educate the industry on the benefits of software usage analytics for compliance and product management through the company's blog and contributed articles in trade publications. Michael was previously a marketing programs manager at The MathWorks and principal at Goff Communications. Michael earned a J.D. from Boston University School of Law and a B.A. from Colgate University.
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