Autodesk Anti-Piracy Recoveries Top $4 Million for 1996

SAN RAFAEL, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Jan. 22, 1997--Autodesk today announced it recovered more than $4 million from illegal users of its computer programs in North America during 1996 -- a record not only for Autodesk but for all PC software companies.

"Our work with law enforcement agencies and our software industry allies allowed us to achieve this impressive record. During 1997, we fully expect to pick up the pace even more both in educating corporate customers and prosecuting offenders," said Sandra Boulton, director of the firm's anti-theft unit.

"The Internet is a new frontier, and software pirates are its outlaws," she added. "Our only choice is to fight back creatively because the potential losses are enormous, not only for software industry profits but also for the jobs and technological leadership the industry provides."

In Autodesk's first piracy case to be settled during 1997, Santa Clara-based On Line Design admitted to making numerous illegal copies of Autodesk software. In connection with the settlement, the training and consulting firm agreed to purchase the programs it is using and to publicly join with Autodesk in its anti-theft efforts, the two companies announced today. (See related press release.)

During 1996:

-- Autodesk obtained its largest-ever piracy settlement -- $200,000

-- from Westech College. This Southern California based operator of technical and trade schools that was using 75 illegal copies of AutoCAD design software across three campuses, after having paid for just one software license.

-- Software piracy captured the attention of law enforcement agencies and the first prison sentences were issued for illegal software use. In an FBI case, Los Angeles resident Howard Barnes was sentenced in June to 33 months in prison for trafficking in counterfeit computer software. Barnes sold counterfeit AutoCAD software through local newspaper advertisements, misrepresenting it as legitimate software and offering it for a fraction of its suggested retail price.

-- Autodesk's anti-theft hotline, 1-800-NO COPIES, received 23 percent more reports of suspected piracy in 1996 than in 1995.

-- California, Pennsylvania, Texas, Ohio and New York were the biggest offenders in North America, and major culprits included architectural firms, manufacturing companies, schools and training centers.

Boulton said Autodesk's anti-theft program resulted in a leveling off of piracy during 1996 as many corporate users clarified their guidelines for software use. However, corporate customers are still responsible for more than 80 percent of Autodesk's total piracy losses. Small business owners, in particular, tend to look the other way when employees copy software, not realizing that they are liable -- even though others do the copying -- for a federal crime that can have severe penalties.

Autodesk works with other software companies to fight theft through the Business Software Alliance, an industry group of leading business software developers that focuses on piracy law enforcement and public policy issues.

Unauthorized duplication of software constitutes copyright infringement and in the United States is punishable in a federal criminal action by a fine of up to U.S. $250,000 and imprisonment for up to five years. In addition, federal civil penalties allow the recovery of actual damages based on the number of copies produced or liquidated damages of up to U.S. $100,000 for willful copyright infringement.

The matters discussed in this news release contain forward looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those projected. This includes any change in the rate of piracy or recoveries, and the other risks detailed from time to time in Autodesk's SEC reports, including the report on Form 10-Q filed in December 1996.

Autodesk is the world's leading supplier of PC design software and PC multimedia tools. The company's 2D and 3D products, geographic information systems, and data management tools are used in many industries for mapping, architectural design, mechanical design, film and video production, video/game development and Web content development. Its Kinetix division is the leader in PC-based 3D modeling and animation software, providing a full range of products for digital media and design professionals.

The fourth largest PC software company in the world, Autodesk has three million customers in over 140 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, or visit is World Wide Web site at . Kinetix can be reached by calling 800/879-4233 or through its World Wide Web site at . Autodesk shares are traded on the Nasdaq National Market under the symbol ADSK. -0-

Note to Editors: Autodesk, the Autodesk logo, and AutoCAD are registered trademarks of Autodesk, Inc.