PC Bulletin Board Hit By FBI Raid
By Josh Hyatt
BOSTON — June 14, 1992 — In one of the first reported crackdowns of its kind, six FBI agents raided a computer bulletin board based in a Millbury, Mass., home last week. 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 association estimates that, as of March, the bulletin board had distributed $675,000 worth of copyrighted software; software pirates, it says, annually steal as much as $12 billion this way.
The FBI will not comment on the case except to confirm that a raid had taken place and that the investigation is continuing. 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 said.
Bulletin boards let personal computer users access a host computer via 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 its own four-month investigation revealed that this bulletin board, called Davy Jones Locker, contained copies of more than 200 copyrighted programs.
Rosenthal said users also were encouraged to contribute copyrighted software programs for others to download, or copy.
According to Rosenthal, subscribers paid a fee, $49 for three months or $99 for one year. She said Davy Jones Locker had nearly 400 paying subscribers in 36 states and 11 foreign countries.