TUCoPS :: Cyber Law :: fbi_ra.txt

FBI raids another BBS

  Date entered into CIS:
  92/06/11 03:57:04
  FBI Raids Computer Bulletin Board; Tipped Off By Software Publishers
  By Josh Hyatt, The Boston Globe Knight-Ridder/Tribune Business News
  BOSTON--June 11--In one of the first crackdowns of its kind, six FBI agents
  Wednesday raided a computer bulletin board based in a Millbury, Mass., home.
  Authorities said the bulletin board's operator had been illegally distributing
  copyrighted software.
  Executing a criminal search warrant, the agents seized several computers, six
* modems and a program called PC Board, which was used to run the bulletin
  board. Authorities also seized documents that listed users of the service.
  No arrests were made, according to the Software Publishers Association, a
  trade group that brought the case to the FBI's attention.
  The FBI would not comment on the case except to confirm that a raid had taken
  place and that the investigation is ongoing. The alleged operator of the
  bulletin board, Richard Kenadek, could not be reached for comment.
  Around the same time as the raid, the software association filed a civil
  lawsuit against Kenadek, charging him with violating copyright laws. Ilene
  Rosenthal, the group's director of litigation, said that "the man had
  incriminated himself" through various computerized messages. "There's plenty
  of evidence to show that he was very aware of everything on his bulletin board
  " she claimed.
* Bulletin boards enable personal computer users to access a host computer via
  their modems. Typically, participants exchange information regarding
  everything from computer programs to tropical fish. They may also, for example
   obtain upgrades of computer programs.
  The association said that its own four-month investigation revealed that this
  bulletin board, called "Davy Jones Locker," contained copies of more than 200
  copyrighted programs. Rosenthal said that users were also encouraged to
  contribute copyrighted software programs for others to download, or copy.
  Those who did so, she said, were given extra time on the bulletin board beyond
  their daily four-hour limit.
  According to Rosenthal, subscribers paid a fee, $49 for three months or $99
  for one year, for access to such popular programs as Lotus 1-2-3, Microsoft
  Word and Leisure Suit Larry. She said that "Davy Jones Locker" had nearly 400
  paying subscribers in 36 states and 11 foreign countries. The association
  estimates that as of March, the bulletin board had distributed $675,000 of
  copyrighted software.
  Industry observers said it was the first time that federal authorities had
  cracked down on a bulletin board service for violating copyright laws. In the
  past others have been closed down for credit-card fraud, for example. "We're
  making legal history here," said Sanford Sherizen, president of a Natick,
  Mass., computer security firm.
  But Sherizen warned that "there are some very sticky issues" involving the
  rights of bulletin board operators. In the past, he said, operators have
  claimed that they were simply providing a service and -- like newspaper
  publishers and telephone companies -- not responsible for all communication
  that takes place over their bulletin boards. Advocacy groups have also claimed
  that the civil rights of bulletin board operators have been infringed upon.
  "So far, the public relations has worked much more effectively than the legal
  cases," Sherizen added, referring to the association.
  The FBI and the Secret Service -- which also has jurisdiction for most federal
  computer crimes -- have also been accused of mishandling similar raids.
  "Agents are groping in the dark because they don't know what they are looking
  at," said Robert Gorrill, director of the Boston Computer Society's
  telecommunications group.
  To track down such bulletin boards, the software association operates an
  antipiracy hotline, which receives at least 10 calls a day, according to
  Rosenthal. She said that the association, which represents some 900 software
  publishers, takes action against at least two bulletin boards a week. Often
  these involve a lawsuit or a voluntary audit letter, giving the bulletin board
  operator a chance to cooperate in an investigation.
  "There haven't been a lot of criminal raids on bulletin boards," Rosenthal
  said. "But we're glad to see the FBI giving the issue credence."
  Software pirates, she said, annually steal as much as $12 billion in
  copyrighted software.  END

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