Microsoft, Adobe sue Australian radio group over piracy claims


MicrosoftMicrosoft and Adobe are suing Super Radio Network and its founder Bill Caralis,  alleging copyright infringement over the unauthorized use of their software. In a statement of claim filed with the Australian Federal Court 3/11, the two software giants allege a number of Caralis’ radio stations infringed copyright by using unlicensed versions of their software, reported The Young Witness.

Caralis operates radio stations in NSW and Queensland and employs popular radio personality John Laws to host a morning show across the network. At this stage only four stations are being sued for alleged software piracy, although Adobe and Microsoft have also lodged a separate case against 25 of Caralis’ other stations. No statement of claim has been lodged in the second case, however an application was made last week by the companies’ lawyers for the discovery of radio station documents.

An email dated 12/14/05, provided to Fairfax Media by Microsoft and Adobe’s lawyers, is expected to be relied upon in the second case as evidence. It shows Super Radio Network’s head technician Allan Bone telling a staff member how to use a “crack” that disables the copyright protections Microsoft uses on Windows. It has yet to be lodged with the Federal Court:

“As you know, m*cro$oft has started a validation program which basically will discontinue your windows update and security patches if you did not actually paid for your copy of MS Windows Operating System or if you installed an after market copy that was not paid for [sic],” Bone says in the email. “With this crack, you can once again keep updating your windows and the security patches.”

In the first case, Adobe alleges two Dubbo (a city in the Orana Region of New South Wales) stations, 2DU and Zoo FM, authorized the installation of at least four unlicensed copies of version 1.0 of the Adobe audio editing program “Audition” on their computers in the period from at least 6/08 to 5/12. It also alleges at least three copies of version 1.5 of the same program were also used without a license.

Adobe alleges the infringements were committed “flagrantly and deliberately” by 2DU, Zoo FM, Caralis and another, “well knowing” of Adobe’s rights and “with the intention of appropriating for their own use and benefit the property of [Adobe]…”.

Stations 2DU and Zoo FM “deliberately installed infringing copies” of the Adobe programs on computers “to maximize their profits at the expense of” Adobe, the software giant alleged.

Meanwhile, Microsoft is alleging 2DU and Zoo FM also infringed upon their copyright by installing multiple unlicensed versions of the Windows operating system, as well as installing multiple versions of Office. In total, 21 unlicensed copies of Office are alleged to have been installed, while 22 unlicensed versions of Windows are said to have been used by the two stations.

Two other radio stations owned by Caralis in Young, 2LF and Roccy FM, are also alleged to have installed at least four unlicensed copies of Windows.

The companies are seeking to restrain the use of allegedly unlicensed software and are seeking damages or an amount of profits. They also want the allegedly unlicensed software destroyed.

The first case will be heard on 4/3 and the second on 4/2.

See the Young Witness story here

RBR-TVBR observation: Clayton Noble, attorney at Microsoft and chair of the Business Software Alliance, said BSA, Microsoft and Adobe were still investigating th matter and asked for anyone with info about software piracy in the Super Radio Network to report it at The Alliance operates a hotline for the public to report software piracy and offers rewards of up to $5,000 for information about the use of unlicensed software. Note that BSA is a global entity with its HQ in Washington, DC. This is a red flag for any stations using pirated software. Disgruntled employees or former employees may well want revenge—and the monetary reward that goes with it—on stations or groups here in the US. The email that was sent by Mr. Bone is extremely damning for the case—certainly a warning for IT and engineering staffs that may endeavor in such a risky activity.