Nine months of stealthy investigations by Sony Computer Entertainment Australia (SCE) against software pirates has culminated in Federal Court action, with a $208,979 pay-out awarded to the games company.
Barry Jakopecevik and two associates were ordered to pay SCE for the profits they made selling counterfeit PlayStation games. Justice Lindgren of the Federal Court also ordered Jakopecevik to pay court costs, estimated to be around $80,000.
The proceedings are part of an ongoing campaign that has been running for more than three years. "It is part of around 100 separate Federal Court proceedings but this recent one was the largest pay-out awarded," said Miriam Stiel, senior associate at Allens Arthur Robinson, the law firm representing SCE.
Jakopecevik operated a manufacturing and distribution business for the pirate software from his home in Cranbourne, in Melbourne's southern suburbs.
The company advertised in the Melbourne Trading Post, using aliases and mobile telephone numbers to take orders over the phone. Then sub-distributors would meet in public places such as Red Rooster restaurants, making it difficult for SCE to track their movements.
"The investigation took more than nine months because of the particularly sophisticated methods the group employed to avoid being detected," Stiel said.
SCE investigators tracked the operation back to Jakopecevik's residence and a search of the premises under Anton Piller orders found thousands of counterfeit software titles. Sony also recovered forensic images of his computer hard drives, which were used in evidence.
"The judge held that he was satisfied they had sold 100 games a week over a five-year period," Stiel said.
Sony still has "a number of investigations" in the pipeline and plans to target pirate operations working through online, market stall and home delivery channels.