Washington, D.C. - United States Attorney Roscoe C. Howard, Jr. and Van A. Harp, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, announced that Yaroslav Suris, 27, of Brooklyn, New York, pled guilty today before U.S. District Judge Thomas P. Jackson to one felony count of Criminal Infringement of a Copyright, in violation of 17 U.S.C. S 506(a)(1) and 18 U.S.C. S 2319(b)(1). As a result of his plea, Suris could be sentenced to 16 months imprisonment. Suris will also be ordered to pay full restitution. Sentencing is scheduled for April 18, 2002. In announcing the plea, U.S. Attorney Howard recognized the importance of prosecuting copyright infringement to deter Internet software piracy.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Miriam M. Smolen informed the Court that Yaroslav Suris was guilty of infringing the copyrights of numerous expensive software packages by making multiple copies of the software, then selling them over the Internet at prices far below their retail value. From February 2000 to April 2001, Suris advertised the following copyrighted software for sale, at prices far below the listed retail price, on the Yahoo! auction website:
Company Software Retail Price
Alias-Wavefront Maya Unlimited 2.5 $16,000
Side Effects Houdini 4.0 $17,000
Adobe Acrobat 4.0 $ 249
Adobe Illustroto 8.0 $ 399
Adobe Page Mill 3.0 $ 99
Adobe Photoshop 6.0 $ 609
Corel Draw 9 $ 695
Macromedia Flash 9 $ 299
Macromedia Freehand 8.0 $ 399
Macromedia Autocad 2000 $ 3,750 Suris duplicated the software on equipment he maintained in his home. He would negotiate a price with a customer over the Internet, then mail the duplicated software on an unmarked CD. For example, Suris sold four copies of Maya Unlimited 2.5, a graphics software package which retails at approximately $16,000 per copy, for a total of $195.00. Customers paid through PayPal, an online payment system, or by mailing checks or money orders.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation contacted Suris under the guise of a real customer, and made four undercover purchases from him of multiple copies of the copyright protected software, for a total of $1310. The retail value of the software sold in those four sales was approximately $290,000.
In announcing the guilty plea, United States Attorney Howard and Assistant Director in Charge Harp commended the investigative work of Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent Christopher Hinkle, and the cooperation of the Software & Information Industry Association. They also commended Assistant U.S. Attorney Miriam Smolen who prosecuted the case.
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