"First time we've done these types of cases, and we think they're going to be big," Scott Bain, litigation counsel for SIIA, told InformationWeek on Tuesday.
The trade association, with members from the software and digital content industries, filed the lawsuits on behalf of Imageline in April, marking the first time the group has taken legal action in cases involving clip art.
"SIIA is making every effort in this challenging economic climate to protect the interests of both the software and graphics industries," Keith Kupferschmid, senior VP of intellectual property policy and enforcement for SIIA, said in a statement. "When companies can't get due credit and compensation for their products, everyone loses -- from individual consumers, to the economy as a whole. These lawsuits have opened a new front in our anti-piracy fight. SIIA is not only pursuing illegal software sellers but is also bringing those who pirate other works such as computer graphics to justice."
Bain said the lawsuits extend the association's efforts to fight online piracy through civil and criminal action.
"Defendants in these cases have deceived the public and hurt the software and computer graphics industries by distributing counterfeit products," he said.
Online sellers charged with copying and distributing Imageline's copyrighted vector-based graphics on eBay and iOffer include David Hendricks, of Freedom Vending, in Bellingham, Wash., and Rudolph Goetze, of Staten Island, N.Y. Yury Mintskovsky, of CD Earth in Plano, Texas, was charged with using www.cdearth.com and www.freesoftwarecd.net to distribute Imageline's art. The defendants from CD Earth recently filed a motion to dismiss the case, arguing that California lacks jurisdiction.
SIIA tracks and investigates online sales and refers some cases to the federal government for criminal charges.
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