Symantec cans another counterfeiter

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A US court has awarded Symantec, best known for its antivirus and security software, a $3 million judgment against Baltimore-based Maryland Internet Marketing for selling counterfeit Symantec software.

Symantec says that Maryland Internet Marketing was the largest source of spammed e-mails circulating in the US selling counterfeit Symantec software. As a result of the case, the frequency of these emails has dropped dramatically and a considerable amount of counterfeit product has been taken out of circulation, Symantec believes. The fact that CEO George Moore was held personally accountable - he has to pay $300,000 in damages to Symantec - speaks volumes for the severity of the crime, the company says.

The court permanently barred Maryland Internet Marketing and Moore from producing or selling unauthorized Symantec products. The injunction also prohibits the defendants from using spam email as a means to sell Symantec products. Furthermore, Moore is required under the settlement to provide assistance to Symantec in its investigative actions against other suppliers of counterfeit Symantec software.

Even before Symantec sued the company, Maryland Internet Marketing was already a disreputable marketing outfit, selling a variety of gastrointestinal and diet aids, including Fat-N-Emy and Extreme Colon Cleanser. Alan Moore was sued by AOL and ridiculed on a webpage by antispam activist Francis Uy; Moore now claims he has left spamming behind him.

Moore is not the first counterfeiter canned by Symantec. Earlier this year the company won an order against CD Micro, based in Grants Pass, Oregon, for infringement of Symantec's trademarks and copyrights. CEO Micro CEO Vincent Webb too was held personally liable for copyright infringement.

Despite these successes, counterfeit software is still sold in larger quantities on the web. Increasingly, bootleggers are operating from Romania and Russia, pretending to sell OEM software, programs that officially need to be purchased with computer hardware.

A quick look at the NANAS sightings newsgroup learns that in the last couple of days two Russian companies named Low-price-soft.biz and Oem-biz.biz (both using the domain server Ns1.Thegoodnet.biz), and an American hit-and-run outfit BuysUSA.us tried selling counterfeit software. Not surprisingly, all these web sites are now closed.

As a rule of thumb: when the prices offered for Adobe, Symantec and Microsoft products are too good to be true, you can be sure they are counterfeit. ®

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