Sony pirate coughs up the treasure

Sony pirate coughs up the treasure

Sony Computer Entertainment (SCE) Australia has won a $220,000 damages payout in its long-running Federal Court action against software piracy ringleader Mohamed Dannoun.

Sony first commenced legal proceedings against Dannoun in April 1999 for importing a large number of counterfeit PlayStation titles under five separate aliases and selling them in markets across Sydney.

Dannoun was found guilty of importing and selling the pirated games -- a practice that violates the trademark rights of SCE Australia and its Japanese parent company. Dannoun was also fined $15,000 for contempt of court during the proceedings.

Sony's crusade also saw the company granted leave to take action against market operator Paddy's Markets for allowing Dannoun to sell the games, but this issue was resolved when the operator agreed to team up with Sony to stamp out software piracy.

In January of this year, Justice Kevin Lindgren awarded indemnity costs against Dannoun and two others found to have imported and sold counterfeit games.

Dannoun has been ordered to pay more than $220,000 in damages to Sony -- the largest amount awarded to the company since it launched its anti-piracy campaign three years ago. The blatant way in which Dannoun operated the illegal business, and his continued denial of any involvement in the operation in the face of all evidence, are thought to have had a major bearing on the decision.

Justice Lindgren said Dannoun had shown a "wilful disregard" for the rights of SCE Australia and the court.

The $220,000 sum represents the profits Dannoun made from the piracy operation.

"Software pirates are not only stealing from us but also from developers, from computer storeowners and from the taxpayer through their black-market activities," said SCE Australia managing director Michael Ephraim.

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