A Year Ago: Game company sued for piracy

First published: Wed, 01 Sep 1999 15:15:36 GMT

Usually, software piracy stories have two plots: either an individual is caught, or a large group of pirates is arrested. Increasingly, however, we hear tales of corporate software piracy. It's not really new, but companies usually like to keep it secret.

Unless of course the defendant is the giant GT Interactive and the plaintiff is StarPlay, a small privately held software publisher based in Colorado, US. StarPlay has accused GT Interactive of pilfering a copy of its Alley 19 Bowling game then marketing and distributing the game throughout Europe under a different name through GT Interactive's German division, GT Value.

When StarPlay was made aware of the situation through a European distributor, the company apparently tried several times to resolve the situation with GT Interactive, until StarPlay produced evidence that GT Interactive had no license to reproduce the game. At that point, GT Interactive agreed to stop selling the game, but that hasn't stopped StarPlay.

"This type of blatant commercial software piracy cannot be tolerated within our industry," said Scott Mesch, StarPlay's President. "If a company can get away with selling someone else's software until they get caught, and then all they have to do is stop selling at that point, the whole software publishing world would crumble in no time."

The lawsuit asks for $110,000 (£67,000) in direct damages and an extra $5m in punitive damages. GT Interactive has not replied publicly to the lawsuit as of yet.

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