Software Anti-Theft Raid Nets $1 Million of Stolen Software

Autodesk, Microsoft, BSA, Aid in Arrest of "Captain Blood"

SAN RAFAEL, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Nov. 15, 1995--Charges have been filed in Los Angeles Municipal Court in one of the largest cases of illegal software theft ever recorded.

The case stems from a raid which took place last Thursday, when investigators from the Los Angeles District Attorney's office and key software industry leaders broke up an alleged illegal software operation, seizing an estimated $1 million in illegally copied software from a mid-Wilshire residence in Los Angeles.

The arrest culminated nearly five years of work by Autodesk, Microsoft, and the Business Software Alliance, a Washington, D.C. based anti-piracy organization comprised of many of the industry's largest software publishers.

An accused software distributor, Thomas Nick Alefantes, known as "Captain Blood," was arrested and held on $1 million bail, and charged with two crimes: counterfeiting a registered trademark, and computer access and fraud, according to the L.A. District Attorney's office. Investigators in the case said Alefantes has been in the business of selling and renting stolen software for some time through advertisements in trade publications and a mail order business.

Working closely with the District Attorney's office, several major software industry leaders who lose millions of dollars annually to software pirates participated in the search and expressed gratification at the arrest.

The Autodesk anti-piracy specialist present during the raid, said, "We found numerous illegal copies of Autodesk products, many of which sell for nearly $4,000 per copy, including AutoCAD, AutoCAD Designer, AutoSurf, and 3-D Studio, in addition to catalogs and sales literature."

Investigators also seized high-speed duplicating equipment, two handguns, and $15,000 in cash, the District Attorney's office said.

"Autodesk has been investigating the `Captain Blood' case for years, at first on our own and then in conjunction with the Business Software Alliance," said Carol Bartz, Autodesk President and CEO. "We believe our losses over the past five years from this man's alleged activities add up to millions of dollars, so we are extremely grateful for the successful and highly professional work of the L.A. County District Attorney's office in bringing about his arrest."

Bartz said, "Theft is the biggest problem facing the software industry, and its ramifications stretch far beyond the walls of any corporate office." She added that Alefantes is not and never has been an authorized Autodesk dealer.

Autodesk and other members of the Business Software Alliance have been among the most active computer industry advocates for cracking down on software theft. According to the BSA, the major producers of desktop software lose an estimated $15.2 billion per year to software pirates worldwide. Autodesk, a founding member of the BSA, has recovered nearly $20 million to date through its efforts at enforcement of anti-piracy laws. The company's anti-piracy department has pursued more than 5,000 reports of illegal use and duplication of its products.

Autodesk is the world's leading supplier of PC and UNIX-based design software and PC multimedia tools. The company's 2D and 3D products and data management tools are used in many industries for architectural design, mechanical design, film-making, videography and geographic information systems. The fourth largest PC software company in the world, Autodesk has three million customers in 118 countries. Autodesk products are sold through Autodesk Systems Centers, Dealers and Distributors worldwide.

For more information on Autodesk, please call 415/507-5000, type GO ADESK on CompuServe(R), or log-in with a World Wide Web browser at -0-

Note to Editors: Autodesk can arrange interviews with representatives from Autodesk, the Business Software Alliance, and Microsoft, and will provide press contacts in the L.A. District Attorney's office.

Autodesk, the Autodesk logo, and AutoCAD are registered trademarks of Autodesk, Inc. All other brand names, product names or trademarks belong to their respective holders.