Bulletin Board Operator is Sentenced
Federal Authorities Follow Up on SPA Investigation
WASHINGTON, March 9, 1995 /PRNewswire/ -- The United States District Court for Massachusetts today sentenced computer bulletin board system operator Richard D. Kenadek to 24 months probation with 6 months home confinement. In addition, for the first 3 months Mr. Kenadek will be monitored by use of an electronic bracelet and is required to forfeit all computer equipment related to the operation of the Davy Jones Bulletin Board.
The Software Publishers Association's (SPA) four month investigation of Mr. Kenadek's bulletin board precipitated an FBI investigation which concluded with the sentence announced today. Kenadek was the operator of the "Davy Jones Locker" computer bulletin board, located at Kenadek's residence in Milbury, Massachusetts.
Kenadek was indicted in August, 1994, and in December plead guilty to criminal copyright infringement for using the Davy Jones Locker Bulletin Board for the unauthorized distribution of copyrighted software for financial gain. The FBI obtained a search warrant and raided the site of Kenadek's bulletin board operation. The indictment and sentence followed the FBI raid.
"Today's sentence is the first time the criminal statute under the copyright law has been used to prosecute a bulletin board operator. This is a crucial turning point on the road to eliminating piracy among bulletin board operators," said Sandra A. Sellers, the SPA Director of Litigation. "The prosecution of Kenadek sends a message to bulletin board operators that both civil and criminal remedies will be vigorously pursued for the unauthorized distribution of copyrighted software. This helps to ensure that the nation's bulletin board operators obey the copyright laws." Sellers added, "It also demonstrates that the U.S. government recognizes the seriousness of software copyright violations. We applaud the federal authorities' swift and sure action in this case and look forward to a continuing relationship with them."
The prosecution followed an FBI investigation of the Davy Jones Locker bulletin board that was conducted with the assistance of information provided by the SPA. For four months prior to the raid, the SPA had monitored the board and downloaded copyrighted business and entertainment programs that were posted on the board without the permission of the publishers. At the time of the FBI raid, more than 200 commercial copyrighted programs were available to subscribers for downloading from a special section of the Davy Jones Locker Bulletin Board reserved for copyrighted files. Kenadek charged subscribers fees for access to his bulletin board, he charged $49 for 3 months or $99 for a full year. According to the SPA's investigation, the Davy Jones Locker Bulletin Board not only made copyrighted software available for downloading, but also encouraged users of the service to upload or contribute additional copyrighted software for illegal distribution.
Based on the results of its own investigation, the SPA filed a civil lawsuit on behalf of its members against Mr. Kenadek on the same day the FBI raid was conducted. The SPA's civil case has been settled in conjunction with Mr. Kenadek's guilty plea. The terms of that settlement include an injunction prohibiting Mr. Kenadek from operating or assisting in any computer bulletin board for one (1) year.
In general, computer bulletin boards allow personal computer users to access a host computer by a modem-equipped telephone to exchange information, which can include messages, files, and computer programs.
SPA Executive Director Ken Wasch said, "Most of the estimated 50,000 bulletin board systems in North America are scrupulously honest and periodically purge copyrighted software from their systems. However, people who operate pirate bulletin boards can expect to be targets of civil and criminal prosecution. Investigations on other similar boards are continuing and action is expected in the near future."
The SPA's anti-piracy hotline (1-800-388-7478) accepts calls reporting software copyright violations, including information on pirate bulletin boards. The hotline receives more than 100 calls per week about all forms of piracy.
The Software Publishers Association is the principal trade association of the PC software industry. Its 1,100 members represent the leading publishers in the business, consumer, and education markets. The SPA has offices in Washington, D.C., and Paris, France. SPA press releases are available through its Internet Web page at http;//www.spa.org, and via CompuServe (GO:SPAForum).
-0- 3/9/95/CONTACT: Peter Beruk, litigation manager, ext. 314, or Ken Wasch, executive director, ext. 310, of the Software Publishers Association, 202-452-1600/