TUCoPS :: Cyber Law :: bbsbust.txt

Pirate software BBS busted by FBI/SPA

Date: Tue, 2 Feb 1993 18:09:59 GMT
Subject: Rusty and Edie's BBS raided by FBI

        WASHINGTON--------------The Federation [sic] Bureau of
Investigation on Saturday, Jan. 30, 1993, raided "Rusty & Edie's,"
a computer bulletin board located in Boardman, [sic -- it's really
in Youngstown, I think] Ohio, which has allegedly been illegally
distributing copyrighted software programs.

 Seized in the raid on the Rusty & Edie's bulletin board were
computers, hard disk drives and telecommunications equipment, as
well as financial and subscriber records.

 For the past several months, the Software Publishers Association
("SPA") has been working with the FBI in investigating the Rusty &
Edie's bulletin board, and as part of that investigation has
downloaded numerous copyrighted business and entertainment programs
from the board.

 The SPA investigation was initiated following the receipt of
complaints from a number of SPA members that their software was
being illegally distributed on the Rusty & Edie's BBS.

 The Rusty & Edie's bulletin board was one of the largest private
bulletin boards in the country.  It had 124 nodes available to
callers and over 14,000 subscribers throughout the United States
and several foreign countries.  To date, the board has logged in
excess of 3.4 million phone calls, with new calls coming in at the
rate of over 4,000 per day.  It was established in 1987 and had
expanded to include over 19 gigabytes of storage housing over
100,000 files available to subscribers for downloading.  It had
paid subscribers throughout the United States and several foreign
countries, including Canada, Luxembourg, France, Germany, Finland,
the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

 A computer bulletin board allows personal computer users to access
a host computer by a modem-equipped telephone to exchange
information, including messages, files, and computer programs.  The
systems operator (Sysop) is generally responsible for the operation
of the bulletin board and determines who is allowed to access the
bulletin board and under what conditions.

 For a fee of $XX.XX per year, subscribers to the Rusty & Edie's
bulletin board were given access to the board's contents including
many popular copyrighted business and entertainment packages.
Subscribers could "download" or receive these files for use on
their own computers without having to pay the copyrighted owner
anything for them.

 "The SPA applauds the FBI's action today," said Ilene Rosenthal,
general counsel for the SPA.  "This shows that the FBI recognizes
the harm that theft of intellectual property causes to one of the
U.S.'s most vibrant industries. It clearly demonstrates a trend
that the government understands the seriousness of software
piracy." The SPA is actively working with the FBI in the
investigation of computer bulletin boards, and similar raids on
other boards are...(??). It clearly demonstrates a trend that the
government understands the seriousness of software piracy."  The
SPA is actively working with the FBI in the investigation expected

 Whether it's copied from a program purchased at a neighborhood
computer store or downloaded from a bulletin board thousands of
miles away, pirated software adds to the cost of computing. 
According to the SPA, in 1991, the software industry lost $1.2
billion in the U.S. alone.  Losses internationally are several
billion dollars more. "Many people may not realize that software
pirates cause prices to be higher, in part, to make up for
publisher losses from piracy,"  says Ken Wasch, executive director
of the SPA.  In addition, they ruin the reputation of the hundreds
of legitimate bulletin boards that serve an important function for
computer users."

 The Software Publishers Association is the principal trade
association of the personal computer software industry.  It's over
1,000 members represent the leading publishers in the business,
consumer and education software markets. The SPA has offices in
Washington DC, and Paris, France.

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